‘Rust’ director told authorities Alec Baldwin was practicing drawing his gun when the shooting occurred – KESQ


(CNN) – The shooting that killed a cinematographer on a New Mexico film set last week occurred when actor Alec Baldwin was practicing drawing his gun, according to the director who was injured in the shooting, according to shows. an affidavit of a search warrant.

Joel Souza, director of the movie “Rust,” was shot in the shoulder and cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, was killed when the prop gun went off during a rehearsal at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe on Thursday. .

This aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Saturday, October 23.

Souza spoke with investigators on Friday, according to the affidavit released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday.

Souza told them that Baldwin was “sitting on a bench in the vicinity of a church building, and was practicing cross-holstering,” the affidavit read. Cross drawing is when a shooter removes the weapon from a holster on the opposite side of the body from the hand he uses.

Souza was looking over Hutchins’ shoulder “when he heard what sounded like a whip and then a loud bang,” according to the affidavit.

Souza recalled Hutchins “complaining about his stomach and clutching his waist” after the shooting occurred, the document says.

Investigators also spoke with cameraman Reid Russell, who was with Souza and Hutchins at the time of the incident, according to the affidavit.

Russell recalled that Hutchins “said she couldn’t feel her legs” and that doctors treated her as she bled on the ground, the researchers said.

Both Souza and Russell acknowledged difficulties on set that day due to a strike by some members of the camera department over payment and accommodation. Due to work problems, Souza said they only had one camera available to use that day and that he was not recording at the time of the incident.

Souza also confirmed to an investigator that he heard the term “cold weapon” on set, meaning the firearm should have been empty.

According to the court order, Souza said that three people had been handling the pistols or firearms for the scenes: They were searched by the gunsmith and the first assistant director and then handed over to the actor who was using them.

The investigator said Souza was not aware of anyone on set being checked for live ammunition before or after filming the scenes.

“The only thing that is checked are the firearms to avoid having live ammunition in them. Joel (Souza) said that there should never be live bullets near or around the scene, ”the affidavit reads.

Representatives for Souza have not responded to requests for comment from CNN.

According to the affidavit, Russell told investigators that Baldwin was “trying to explain how he was going to get the firearm out and where his arm would be when the gun was removed from the holster.”

Russell “was not sure why the firearm was fired and he just remembered the heavy blow from the firearm,” the affidavit says.

When asked how Baldwin handled the firearm, Russell told investigators that the actor “had been very careful” and recalled an earlier instance in which Baldwin “made sure it was safe and that a child was not around. of him when they were firing a firearm during that scene ”.

The search warrant sought to recover any footage, video cameras, computer equipment and memory cards used by cameras on set.

No charges have been filed in the incident. The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office says it will discuss the case further at a news conference Wednesday.

The assistant director was the subject of complaints

According to an earlier search warrant affidavit, the film’s assistant director David Halls handed the prop pistol to Baldwin prior to the shooting and yelled “cold pistol,” a comment intended to indicate that the weapon had no real bullets.

Baldwin received one of three prop weapons that a gunsmith placed in a cart for the film, and Halls was unaware that there were real bullets in the pistol, according to the affidavit.

Halls had been the subject of complaints about safety and his behavior on set during two productions in 2019, two people who worked closely with him told CNN.

This was the 911 call for help after shooting Alec Baldwin 0:57

Complaints against Halls include a disregard for safety protocols for the use of weapons and pyrotechnics, blocked fire lanes and exits, and instances of inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.

Maggie Goll, IATSE Local 44 prop maker and licensed pyrotechnic, said in a statement to CNN that while working on Hulu’s “Into the Dark” anthology series in February and May 2019, Halls forgot to hold fireworks meetings. security and constantly did not announce to the team the presence of a firearm on set, as is protocol.

Halls did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on Goll’s allegations against him.

The gunsmith who prepared the prop weapon used by Baldwin was identified in the search warrant documents as Hannah Gutiérrez. He had recently finished working on his first project as a chief gunsmith, he said in a podcast interview in September.

“At first I was really nervous,” Gutierrez said of her job as chief gunsmith on the set of the movie “The Old Way,” starring Nicolas Cage.

“I almost didn’t take the job because I wasn’t sure if I was ready, but doing it, it went really well,” she said in an interview on the Voices of the West podcast, which is dedicated to the Old West.

His work as a gunsmith ranges from teaching actors how to wear a gun belt to aiming and shooting, he said.

‘She was my role model’

Hutchins’ husband described the loss of his wife as “huge.”

“Halyna inspired us all with her passion and vision, and her legacy is too significant to sum up in words,” Matthew Hutchins tweeted on Friday. Hutchins is also survived by a 9-year-old son.

A photo of the Hutchins family shared by Matt Hutchins, husband of Halyna Hutchins.

In an interview with the Kyiv Post on Friday, Halyna Hutchins’ sister Svetlana Androsovych said her family was struggling with pain.

“I cannot understand (his death). I loved her very much… I was very proud of her and she was my role model, ”Androsovych said. “This loss is a great pain for our family and I see how difficult it is for our parents. Hopefully time will ease our pain. “

CNN has contacted Androsovych but has not received a response.

Hundreds of mourners gathered at Albuquerque Civic Plaza Saturday night for a candlelight vigil to remember Hutchins.

The vigil was organized by IATSE Local 600 and IATSE Local 480, union chapters of the International Theater Stage Employees Alliance, which represents workers in various roles in the entertainment industry.

Speakers included the president of the International Union of Cinematographers, John Lindley, who acknowledged that grief can easily turn to anger after a tragic loss, and warned union members at the same time to “hold back anger for now and support to the (Hutchins) family during this time. “

IATSE Local 600 created a verified GoFundMe page for the Hutchins family. Nearly $ 200,000 had been raised as of early Monday.

People attend a vigil honoring cinematographer Halyna Hutchins at Albuquerque Civic Plaza on October 23, 2021 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The last speaker of the evening was Lane Looper, a member of the “Rust” crew who said he met Hutchins about seven weeks ago. “I would have been lucky to make another movie with such a person,” said Looper, who was visibly moved. “She was a wonderful mother and wife and she was just a wonderful soul, and I really hope there are more people like her.”

In a tweet on Friday, Baldwin said he was heartbroken and was cooperating fully with police.

“There are no words to express my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, our deeply admired wife, mother and colleague,” said Baldwin. “My heart is broken for her husband, her son and everyone who knew and loved Halyna.”

CNN’s Gregory Lemos, Mayumi Maruyama, Karen Smith, and Lucy Kafanov contributed to this report.

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‘Rust’ director told authorities Alec Baldwin was practicing drawing his gun when the shooting occurred – KESQ