Alec Baldwin was one of four people to handle gun on 'Rust' movie set on day of shooting: warrant

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Alec Baldwin was the fourth person to handle a gun that he discharged on the set of his upcoming film “Rust,” authorities have revealed.

The 63-year-old actor was rehearsing a scene when he discharged a gun he was told contained no ammunition. A projectile from the weapon struck and ultimately killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Director Joel Souza was also hit by the projectile, but he’s since been released from the hospital.

A search warrant from the Magistrate Court County of Santa Fe released on Wednesday said that the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, examined the on-set guns on the day of the incident to ensure that they were not “hot,” an industry term meaning loaded with ammunition or blanks.

The guns were then secured in a safe on a “prop truck,” per the warrant. However, during lunch, ammunition was left unsecured on a cart on the set.

Alec Baldwin was one of four people to handle a gun he accidentally discharged on the set of the movie ‘Rust,’ resulting in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
(Jim Spellman/Getty Images)

According to the search warrant, a woman named Sarah Zachry removed the guns from the safe in the truck after lunch and handed them to Gutierrez. It remains unclear what Zachry’s position is within the “Rust” production, but the New York Times reports she is the film’s prop master. 

Gutierrez, 24, told authorities that only a few people know the combination to the safe. She also said that she handed the gun to Baldwin multiple times and also handed it to assistant director Dave Halls. Halls handed the gun to Baldwin before the fatal shooting, per the warrant. 

Gutierrez, when asked about live ammunition, said such ammo is not ever kept on set.

Halls was pressed about safety protocols when it comes to gun safety on set.

“I check the barrel for obstructions, most of the time there’s no live fire, she [Gutierrez] opens the hatch and spins the drum and I say ‘cold gun on set,’” Halls said, according to the warrant.

Per the warrant, Halls added that he only remembered seeing three rounds in the gun when Gutierrez showed it to him before continuing rehearsal. He admitted that he should have checked for more and couldn’t recall whether the gun’s drum was spun by Gutierrez, the warrant said. 

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died after she was hit with a projectile on the set of ‘Rust.’
(Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images for AMC Networks)

After the shooting, Halls picked up the gun from a pew inside the church where the scene was to be shot and brought it to the armorer. According to the warrant, Gutierrez was told to “open” the gun so Halls could see what was inside. Halls could only recall seeing at least four “dummy” casings with the hole on the side and one without the hole. The “dummy” round without the hole did not have a cap on it but had only the casing, per the warrant. 

A “dummy” round contains no explosive charge. 

Halls “advised the incident was not a deliberate act,” according to the warrant, which was issued Wednesday in order to search a truck that was used on the set. Per The Associated Press, citing the application for a previous search warrant, Halls was unaware live rounds were inside the firearm.

When deputies arrived, Gutierrez handed them the gun. 

When speaking to authorities, Souza said that as far as he knew, no one is checked for live ammunition prior to or after a scene involving a gun is filmed. Only the guns are checked to avoid the use of live ammunition. He insisted that there shouldn’t be live rounds whatsoever on the set.

Alec Baldwin was handed the firearm by assistant director Dave Halls, who believed there was no ammunition loaded.
(IMDb/Getty Images)

Cameraman Reid Russell, who was standing with Hutchins and Souza when they were shot, was also interviewed. He noted that he stepped away for about five minutes after returning from lunch and was unaware whether the gun had been checked due to his absence.

Russell did not capture video or audio of the incident as he was simply setting up his shot and discussing angles to avoid a problematic shadow, he said. 

Russell added that Baldwin was very careful with guns on set, once even ensuring that a child wasn’t near him when discharging a firearm.

Halls and Gutierrez have not returned Fox News’ requests for comment. Zachry could not immediately be reached.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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