Alec Baldwin shooting: Rust assistant director tells police he didn’t check all rounds before giving gun to actor

‘We know there was one live round, as far as we’re concerned, on set,’ sheriff says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Wednesday 27 October 2021 19:55
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Related video: Alec Baldwin: Police don’t rule out criminal charges for actor after Rust shooting

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The assistant director on the movie Rust has told police that he didn’t check all the rounds in the gun barrel to ensure they were all fake bullets before handing the firearm to actor Alec Baldwin.

Assistant Director Davis Halls told police that when Rust armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed “showed him” the gun later used by Mr Baldwin “before continuing rehearsal, he could only remember seeing three rounds,” an affidavit filed on Wednesday in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court shows.

Mr Halls “advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t and couldn’t recall” if Ms Gutierrez-Reed “spun the drum”, the legal document stated.

The affidavit was part of a search warrant for the film set in New Mexico.

When the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office asked Mr Halls about safety procedures regarding guns, he said: “I check the barrel for obstructions, most of the time there’s no live fire.”

He added that Ms Gutierrez-Reed “opens the hatch and spins the drum, and I say ‘cold gun’ on set”.

Mr Baldwin, 63, was rehearsing a scene when he fired the prop gun, fatally shooting cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, and injuring director Joel Souza, 48.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said during a press conference on Wednesday that the prop gun was a .45 Long Colt that had a live round in the drum.

Police haven’t ruled out any charges. Authorities have said that a “lead projectile” was removed from the shoulder of Mr Souza. Sheriff Mendoza said it was “apparently the same round” that hit both Ms Hutchins and Mr Souza.

An earlier affidavit said Mr Halls shouted “cold gun” when he gave it to Mr Baldwin to indicate that it had no live bullets.

The affidavit filed on Wednesday said that Ms Gutierrez-Reed told authorities that on the day the shooting occurred, she examined the “dummies” and “ensured they were not ‘hot’ rounds”. When the film crew took a break for lunch, the weapons were “secured inside a safe on the ‘prop truck’”.

“During lunch, [Ms Gutierrez-Reed] stated the ammo was left on a cart on the set, not secured,” the affidavit stated.

First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies for the state of New Mexico speaks during a press conference at the Santa Fe County Public Safety Building to update members of the media on the shooting accident on the set of the movie "Rust" at the on October 27, 2021 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. On October 21, 2021, Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was injured on set while filming the movie "Rust" at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ms Gutierrez-Reed told detectives that following the break for lunch, Sarah Zachary, a member of the crew, “pulled the firearms out of the safe inside the truck, and handed them to her”. She said only a small number of people knew the combination to access the safe.

“During the course of filming, Hannah advised she handed the gun to Alec Baldwin a couple [of] times, and also handed it to David Halls,” the affidavit stated. “When Affiant (the person filing the affidavit) asked about live ammo on set, Hannah responded no live ammo is ever kept on set.”

Sheriff Mendoza said on Wednesday said during the investigation of the set, they found 500 rounds of ammunition, including blanks, dummy rounds, as well as suspected live rounds.

“We know there was one live round, as far as we’re concerned, on set,” he said.

The shooting occurred inside a church building, after which Mr Halls picked up the gun and handed it to Ms Gutierrez-Reed, the affidavit filed on Wednesday said.

“Hannah then was told to ‘open’ the gun so he could see what was inside. David advised he could only remember seeing at least four ‘dummy’ casings with the hole on the side, and one without the hole,” the affidavit added.

Mr Halls “advised this round did not have the ‘cap’ on it and was just the casing,” it said. “David advised the incident was not a deliberate act.”

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