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An affidavit released Sunday indicates that Alec Baldwin was practicing how he would draw his gun and aimed it directly at the camera at the time an accidental shot killed the cinematographer on his new film and wounded the director.
The statement, obtained by police, provides new details about the fatal incident that took place at Bonanza Creek Ranch, in New Mexico, during the filming of Baldwin’s new western: Rust.
While Alec Baldwin was practicing with the gun, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and director Joel Souza were following the actor behind the camera when a “loud noise” caught the attention of the production crew.
Souza told police that after hearing the sound he noticed that he and Hutchins were bleeding. The cinematographer, complaining of abdominal pain, grabbed Souza by the waist and staggered back.
Who handed the gun to Alec Baldwin?
Both Souza and another member of the production crew told authorities they were not sure if the gun had been checked and secured after the last break.
The film crew’s gunsmith had located three guns, presumably prop guns, on a rolling cart. An assistant grabbed one of the guns from the cart and handed it to Baldwin, while the assistant director yelled “cold gun” to indicate that the gun was not loaded.
After the shots were fired, the armorer took the gun that Baldwin had used and collected the bullet shells. He then handed the gun himself to the detectives, who placed it in a patrol car along with the other prop guns and ammunition in the rolling cart.
Cameraman Reid Russell told investigators that Souza, who was wounded in the shoulder, was bloodstained and Hutchins, wounded in the abdomen, said she could not feel her legs.
Russell also pointed out that Hutchins received emergency care from paramedics present in the building, that he was not sure if the gun was loaded, and that he “only remembered the sound of the gunshot.”
In addition, Russell told police that filming was behind schedule that day and that he “had a lot of work to complete” after six members of the camera crew walked off the set during the morning in protest over “problems with the production related to payment,” the document says.
Souza had also mentioned that production was behind schedule given that there was only one camera available for use after the crew left.
“During the morning hours, the day started late due to the fact that one camera crew had quit and they had to find another one to help shoot the film,” Souza told police.
The affidavit, issued from a search warrant and obtained by Detective Joel Cano, provides the first publicly available sequence of events about the fatal incident on the set of Rust.
The unfortunate event took place on a well-known film set located in New Mexico and famous in the movie industry, while Alec Baldwin was shooting a scene for his new cowboy film set in the 19th century.
On the same day of the incident, the police indicated that around 1:50 pm (local time) they received a call reporting what happened on the film set and immediately dispatched officers.
A spokesman for the Santa Fe sheriff’s office reported that Alec Baldwin discussed the incident with police detectives after voluntarily appearing to their office, according to a statement published by AFP.
No charges have been filed in connection with the events and the investigation has not yet determined why the gun was loaded or why it was surrendered as safe. So far, Alec Baldwin is cooperating as a witness and is not a suspect.