Alec Baldwin handed loaded gun before fatal shooting on movie set, court records show

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An assistant director inadvertently handed a loaded weapon to Alec Baldwin and told him it was safe to use in moments when the actor fatally shot a cinematographer, court records were released Friday.

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According to a search warrant filed in Santa Fe Court, the assistant director declared a “cold gun.”

Instead, the gun was loaded with live rounds, and when Baldwin pulled the trigger on the set of a Western on Thursday, it killed cinematographer Helena Hutchins. Director Joel Souza standing behind him was injured, the record said.

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The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office obtained the warrant Friday so investigators could document the scene at the ranch outside Santa Fe where the shooting took place. He sought Baldwin’s bloodstained costume for the film “Rust” as evidence, as well as the weapon that had been fired, other prop guns and ammunition, and any footage that may have been present.

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According to records, the gun was one of three that the film’s armor, Hannah Gutierrez, kept on a cart outside the wooden structure where a scene was being shot. A detective wrote in the search warrant application that Assistant Director Dave Halls grabbed the gun from the car and brought it inside Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds.

Hall did not immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment. The Associated Press was unable to contact Gutierrez, and multiple messages sent to production companies affiliated with the film on Friday were not immediately returned.

Earlier in the day, Baldwin described the murder as a “tragic accident”. The sheriff’s office said he was performing at the time of the shooting. It was unclear how many rounds were fired, and little was known about the weapon.

“There are no words to express my shock and sadness about the tragic accident that took the lives of our wife, mother and deeply admired colleague Helena Hutchins. I fully support the police investigation,” Baldwin wrote on Twitter. “My heart breaks for her husband, their son and all those who knew and loved Halina.”

No charges were immediately filed, and sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said Baldwin was allowed to travel.

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“He’s a free man,” Rios said.

Images of the 63-year-old actor—best known for his roles in “30 Rock” and “The Hunt for Red October” and his impression of former President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live”—shown him disturbed outside the sheriff’s office. Thursday.

The guns used in making movies are sometimes actual weapons that can fire either bullets or blanks, which are gunpowder charges that produce a flash and a blast but no lethal projectile. Even empty spaces can expel hot gases and paper or plastic wrap from barrels that can be deadly at close range. The same was proved in the case of the death of an actor in 1984.

In another on-set accident in 1993, actor Brandon Lee was killed after missing a bullet in a prop gun, and a similar shootout involved stage weapons that were loaded with live rounds.

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Since then gun-safety protocols on set in the United States have improved, said Steven Hall, a veteran director of photography in the UK. But he added that behind the camera is one of the riskiest positions as the man is in line of fire in scenes where an actor is seen pointing a gun at the audience.

Rios said the sheriff’s deputy responded on the set of the film at Bonanza Creek Ranch at 2 p.m. after a 911 call shot one man, Rios said. The farm has been used in dozens of films, including the recent Tom Hanks western “News of the World”.

Hutchins, 42, served as director of photography for the 2020 action film “Arcanemy” starring Joe Manganiello. She was a 2015 graduate from the American Film Institute and was named a “rising star” by American Cinematographer in 2019.

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“I’m so sad to lose Halina. And so furious that this could happen on a set,” said “Arkenami” director Adam Egypt Mortimer on Twitter. “She was a brilliant talent with a penchant for art and film Committed to.”

Manganiello called Hutchins “an incredible talent” and “a great man” on his Instagram account. He said that he is lucky to have worked with him.

After shooting, production on “Jung” was halted. According to the Internet Movie Database website, the film is about a 13-year-old boy who is left to care for himself and his younger brother after the death of his parents in Kansas in the 1880s. The teen runs away with his long-estranged grandfather (played by Baldwin) after the boy is sentenced to death for the accidental murder of a local rancher.

Lee, the son of martial arts star Bruce Lee, died in 1993 after being struck by a .44-caliber slug while filming a death scene for the movie “The Crow.” The gun was believed to have fired a blank, but an autopsy revealed a bullet near his spine.

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In 1984, actor John-Eric Hexum died after shooting himself in the head with a prop gun blank while pretending to play Russian roulette with a .44 Magnum on the set of the television series “Cover Up”.

Such shootings have also happened during historical reenactments. In 2015, an actor who staged a historic shootout in Tombstone, Arizona, was shot during a show with a live round that Blank was supposed to use.

In Hill City, South Dakota, a tourist town that recreates the feel of an Old West, three spectators were injured in 2011 when a re-enforcer fired real bullets instead of blanks.

Berry reported from Phoenix. Associated Press writers Jake Coyle and Jocelyn Nowek in New York, Lizzie Knight in London, Yuras Karmanau in Kiev, Ukraine, and Ryan Pearson in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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