SANTA FE, NM — Alec Baldwin was handed a loaded weapon by an assistant director who indicated it was safe to use in moments when the actor fatally shot a cinematographer, according to the court. The record shows released on Friday.
According to a search warrant filed in a Santa Fe court, the assistant director did not know the prop gun was loaded with live rounds.
Cinematographer Helena Hutchins was shot in the chest. Director Joel Souza standing behind him was injured, records show.
The warrant was obtained on Friday so that investigators could document the scene of the farm where the shooting took place. It notes that Baldwin’s bloodstained costume for the western film “Rust” was taken as evidence, as was the weapon that was fired.
Investigators also seized other prop guns and ammunition used during the shooting of the film starring Baldwin.
Earlier in the day, Baldwin described the murder as a “tragic accident”. Baldwin was performing at the time of the shooting, the sheriff’s office said. It was unclear how many rounds were fired, and little was known about the weapon.
Baldwin wrote on Twitter, “There are no words to express my shock and sadness about the tragic accident that took the lives of our wife, mother and highly admired colleague Helena Hutchins. I am fully cooperating with the police investigation.” I’ve been.” “My heart breaks for her husband, their son and everyone who knew and loved Halina.”
Sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said detectives were gathering evidence and information on set Friday morning.
He said no immediate charges were made and that Baldwin is allowed to travel.
“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” showed him distraught outside the sheriff. office on 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. However, even the blanks can expel hot gases and paper or plastic wrap from the barrel which can be fatal 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.
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.
Hutchins, 42, was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Souza, 48, who was injured in the collarbone area, was taken by ambulance to a medical centre.
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”.
“This investigation remains open and active,” Rios said in a statement.
Hutchins’ final social media post featured a photo of the “Rust” actors standing together in solidarity with members of the crew. She belonged to the IATSE union which represents the crew members. The union is to vote soon on a new contract with producers after threatening to strike in recent weeks over issues including long hours and on-set safety.
Hutchins, a 2015 graduate of the American Film Institute, served as director of photography in the 2020 action film “Arkenemy,” which starred Joe Manganiello. She was named a “rising star” by American cinematographers in 2019.
“I’m so sad to lose Halina. And so angry this could happen on a set,” Adam Egypt Mortimer, director of “Arknemy,” said on Twitter. “She was a brilliant talent who was completely committed to art and film.”
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.
According to Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko, Hutchins had Ukrainian citizenship. The country’s consulate in San Francisco was working with US law enforcement officials.
Baldwin served as a producer with Souza in the 2019 film “Crown Vic,” which starred Thomas Jane as a veteran Los Angeles police officer on the hunt for two bank robbers. Souza’s first credited film, 2010’s “Hannah Gould”, was a treasure hunt adventure featuring Luke Perry.
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.
A Twitter account run by Lee’s sister, Shannon, said: “Our condolences to the family of Haliana Hutchins and Joel Souza and everyone involved in the ‘Rust’ incident. No one was ever gunned down on the set of the film. Must be killed. Period.”
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.
This story corrects Alec Baldwin’s age to 63.