Rust Affidavit Reveals What Happened Leading Up To The Fatal Shooting

More details are coming to light regarding the incident that left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead after a prop gun misfire on the set of the Alec Baldwin Western, "Rust." The shooting also left director Joel Souza injured and has brought renewed attention to film crew working conditions, something IATSE (the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, of which Hutchins was a member) had been negotiating to improve even before the fatal accident.

Deadline shared the details from an affidavit written by a detective in the Santa Fe Sheriff's Department. They reiterate that Baldwin had been careful handling the prop gun before discharging it. According to the affidavit, assistant director Dave Halls did not know there was a live round or rounds in the gun before giving it to Baldwin. He grabbed one of three guns from a cart that armorer Hannah Gutierrez had prepped, then handed the weapon to Baldwin and indicated it had no live rounds by yelling, "Cold gun!"

Baldwin fired the gun during rehearsal for a scene, striking Hutchens and Souza behind her. They had been preparing for the scene, broke for lunch, went offset, and it's uncertain whether anyone checked the guns again after that. 

After the shooting, Baldwin changed out of his Old West-style clothes, which were covered in blood. Gutierrez took the gun and gave it to Halls, who removed the spent shell casing and handed it to deputies once they arrived.

Director's Statement to Police

When the detective arrived on the scene, he saw that Hutchins had been shot in the chest and Souza had been shot in the shoulder. Hutchins was quickly helicoptered to the hospital, where she died. The gun went into police custody along with the gun cart, which had been left outside of the church where they were filming before the scene due to Covid restrictions.

Souza later gave a statement saying that the workday started late because seven crew members had walked out and "Rust" needed to find a new non-union camera crew. Having only one camera slowed the day, but Souza claims that despite the stresses, he knew of no altercations. He was more focused on cameras and monitors. They were not filming when Baldwin drew his weapon and pointed it toward the camera during the rehearsal.

Souza was standing behind Hutchins, and both he and Baldwin believed the gun was cold. He explained that, according to his knowledge of firearm safety on set, there should never be live ammunition anywhere near a scene, but that the guns themselves are the only thing checked before a scene.

New information reveals that the gun was used that morning for target practice on beer cans with live ammo. Needless to say, the circumstances preceding the death of Halyna Hutchins have opened up a lot of questions about safety in the film industry during productions. We will continue to follow this story as it develops.