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Search warrant reveals grim details of ‘Rust’ shooting and final minutes of Halyna Hutchins

Alec Baldwin outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office in Santa Fe, New Mexico, after the shooting on the set of “Rust.” (Jim Weber / Associated press)

Actor Alec Baldwin was practicing removing a gun from its holster and aiming at the camera during the rehearsal for “Rust” when director Joel Souza heard “what sounded like a whip and then a loud pop,” according to a search warrant obtained by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday night which also provided grim new details about the last minutes in the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

In the recently released document, Souza said someone identified the weapon as a “bladed weapon” meaning it did not have live ammunition. But instead, the gun fired, hitting Hutchins in his chest and Souza in his right shoulder, according to an affidavit from the Santa Fe County, NM Sheriff’s Detective used to obtain a search warrant. Hutchins was pronounced dead at an Albuquerque hospital.

Souza’s statement to the detective offered a new window into the shooting on set Thursday that left Hollywood in shock and calling for safer working conditions on sets.

Filming took place after six members of the film crew left the set after complaining to the production company about payment and accommodation, cameraman Reid Russell told Det. Joël Cano. The affidavit offered the most detailed timeline to date of an ongoing tragedy.

The day started late because the production hired another film crew and only worked with one camera, Souza told the detective.

Souza said three people were handling the weapon for the scene: gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez Reed, and then Deputy Warden Dave Halls, who handed the gun to Baldwin, according to the affidavit.

Halls had taken one of three propeller guns set up by Gutierrez Reed on a cart left outside the structure due to COVID-19 restrictions, according to the affidavit. Halls was unaware that live ammunition was in the gun when he handed it to Baldwin, and Halls shouted “cold weapon”, according to the affidavit.

Souza said the cast and crew prepared the scene before lunch but then ate a meal away from the rehearsal area around 12:30 p.m., according to the affidavit. Upon their return, Souza said, he was not sure the weapon had been checked again, according to the affidavit.

“Joel said that as far as he knows, no one is checked for live ammunition on their person before and after the scenes are shot,” the affidavit said. “The only thing checked is the guns to keep live ammunition out of there. Joel said there should never be live ammunition, either near or around the scene. “

Upon their return from lunch, a creeping shadow prompted the camera to be moved to a different angle, Russell said in the affidavit. As Baldwin explained how he was going to draw his gun and where his arm would be when he removed the gun from the holster, she unloaded herself, Russell said.

Souza said he was looking over Hutchins’ shoulder when the gun discharged. Hutchins grabbed his abdomen, tripped back and “was helped to the ground,” Souza told the detective.

The search warrant stated that Russell remembered hearing a loud bang, seeing a bloodied Souza, and hearing Hutchins say she couldn’t feel her legs.

The shooting came after members of the team expressed concerns about the security conditions on the set. Two of the “Rust” crew told the LA Times that, less than a week earlier, a stuntman fired two accidental discharges of propeller weapons after learning the weapon was “cold.”

Rust Movie Productions said in a statement that the safety of its cast and crew is “the top priority” and that it is not aware of any official complaints raised about gun safety and will conduct a review. internal. On Sunday, the production company said it would halt production on the film during the investigation, but has not ruled out restarting.

Hutchins’ death follows other accidents on television and film sets. Some in Hollywood and across the community have called for sets to no longer have operational firearms, especially since muzzle fire could be added via post-production. A California state senator has announced plans to propose legislation banning live ammunition and firearms capable of firing live ammunition at Hollywood productions in California.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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