Alec Baldwin shooting: Four people touched the gun on the day of Halyna Hutchins’ death – here’s what they have said

Clearer picture builds of events leading up to fatal shooting on set of Alec Baldwin movie ‘Rust’

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Friday 29 October 2021 23:01

Related Video: Armourer for ‘Rust’ blames producers for deadly shooting

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More details have emerged regarding the chain of custody of the firearm on the day of the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie Rust.

The third warrant released by Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department not only revealed a fourth person had been in possession of the F.lli Pietta replica long Colt 45 revolver but also confirmed that ammunition was kept unsecured.

This is the role that each person present played that day and what they have so far told authorities about the events leading up to the death of Ms Hutchins and the wounding of director Joel Souza.

Hannah Gutierrez – Armourer for the set

Ms Gutierrez advised police that on the day of the incident she checked the “dummies” and ensured there were no “hot” rounds in the weapon.

When the crew broke for lunch, the firearms were taken back and secured in a safe inside the prop truck on set.

During lunch, she stated that ammo was left on a cart on set and was not secured. She also said that there was more ammo inside the prop truck.

When filming resumed, Ms Gutierrez handed the gun to Alec Baldwin a couple of times, and also handed it to David Halls, assistant director. She said in her affidavit that no live ammo is ever kept on set, though police reports say officers have found live rounds, and the bullet removed from Mr Souza’s shoulder was also live.

After the incident, she opened the gun for Mr Halls to examine [see below] and was the individual who handed the firearm to deputies when they arrived on the scene.

Sarah Zachry – Props manager

As props manager, Ms Zachry was one of the few on set with access to the combination of the safe, and according to Ms Gutierrez was the person who retrieved the firearms after lunch and handed them to her.

Any interview with Ms Zachry has not yet been made public.

David Halls – Assistant director

When asked by police about safety protocols, he said: “I check the barrel for obstructions, most of the time there’s no live fire, she [Ms Gutierrez] opens the hatch and spins the drum, and I say ‘cold gun on set’.”

Mr Halls said that he showed Ms Gutierrez the firearm before continuing the rehearsal and that he only remembered seeing three rounds. He said that he should have checked all of them, but did not, and could not recall if she had spun the drum.

After the incident, Mr Halls picked up the firearm from where it lay on a pew in the church and took it to Ms Gutierrez and told her to open it so that he could see what was inside. He told police that he could only remember seeing at least four dummy casings with the identifying hole in the side, and one without the hole.

This casing did not have the cap on it and was just the casing. He advised deputies that the incident was not a deliberate act.

Alec Baldwin – Actor

An interview with Baldwin is not mentioned in the latest warrant, but in a series of tweets the actor said: “There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours.”

“I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”

Joel Souza - Director

Mr Souza was struck by the bullet in the shoulder after it had passed through Ms Hutchins. The director told police everyone was getting along well on set and there were no altercations to his knowledge.

He was standing beside Ms Hutchins and Baldwin was sitting on a wooden pew facing toward the crew in the church set when the incident occurred.

The rehearsal required Baldwin to cross-draw the weapon and point it toward the camera lens. Mr Souza recalls the phrase “cold gun” being used prior to the scene.

Mr Souza confirmed that he knew of only three people who handle the firearms for use in scenes — Baldwin, Mr Halls, and Ms Gutierrez. He appears unaware of Ms Zachry retrieving the gun from the safe.

The only checks prior to a firearms scene he said are whether there are live rounds in the weapons. There should never be any live rounds near or around the scene, he added.

Mr Souza says he was looking over Ms Hutchins’ shoulder at the scene when he heard “what sounded like a whip and then loud pop”. He then vaguely remembers Ms Hutchins complaining about her stomach and grabbing her midsection. She stumbled back and was assisted to the ground and he saw his shoulder was bleeding.

Reid Russel – Cameraman

Mr Russel told detectives that when the incident took place there was no video or audio being recorded as they were still preparing. The camera angle was adjusted because of a shadow and Baldwin explained how he would draw the firearm and where his arm would be when it was pulled from the holster.

Mr Russel remembers a loud bang when the gun went off and saw that Mr Souza had blood on him. Ms Hutchins said she couldn’t feel her legs and was helped to the ground and treated by medics.

He too said that everyone appeared to be getting along, and said that Baldwin had been very careful in handling the firearm when filming earlier scenes, even voicing concern if there were children near by.

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