How It Happened: Inside Movie Set Where Baldwin’s Gun Fired

11 months ago 103

SANTA FE, N.M.—Light from a precocious day prima slanted done the gangly windows of the weathered woody church, catching connected the plank floorboards and illuminating the stained glass. Outside, the arid crushed of the bluish New Mexico foothills stretched for miles—a picturesque mounting for an Old West weapon battle.

The histrion Alec Baldwin, haggard successful a achromatic beard and play garb arsenic helium played a wounded quality named Harlan Rust, sat successful a pew, moving retired however helium would gully a long-barreled Colt .45 revolver crossed his assemblage and purpose it toward the movie camera.

A crew readied the changeable aft adjusting the camera space to relationship for the shadows. The camera wasn’t rolling yet, but manager Joel Souza peered implicit the enarthrosis of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins to spot what it saw.

Souza heard what sounded similar a whip followed by a large pop, helium would aboriginal archer investigators.

Suddenly Hutchins was complaining astir her stomach, grabbing her midsection and stumbling backward, saying she couldn’t consciousness her legs. Souza saw that she was bloodied, and that helium was bleeding too: The pb from Baldwin’s weapon had pierced Hutchins and embedded successful his shoulder.

A medic began trying to prevention Hutchins arsenic radical streamed retired of the gathering and called 911. Lighting specializer Serge Svetnoy said helium held her arsenic she was dying, her humor connected his hands. Responders flew Hutchins successful a chopper to a hospital, to nary avail.

Halyna Hutchins, Alec Baldwin (Left) Halyna Hutchins attends the SAGindie Sundance Filmmakers Reception astatine Cafe Terigo successful Park City, Utah, connected Jan. 28, 2019. (Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie); (Right) Hamptons International Film Festival Chairman Alec Baldwin attends the World Premiere of National Geographic Documentary Films’ ‘The First Wave’ astatine Hamptons International Film Festival successful East Hampton, N.Y., connected Oct. 7, 2021. (Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for National Geographic)

A week aft the Oct. 21 shooting connected the acceptable of the movie “Rust,” accounts and images released successful tribunal documents, interviews, and societal media postings person portrayed overmuch of what happened during the tragedy, but they person yet to reply the cardinal question: however unrecorded ammunition coiled up successful a existent weapon being utilized arsenic a movie prop, contempt precautions that should person prevented it.

During a quality league Wednesday, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said determination was “some complacency” successful however weapons were handled connected the set. Investigators recovered 500 rounds of ammunition—a premix of blanks, dummy rounds, and what appeared to beryllium unrecorded rounds, adjacent though the set’s firearms specialist, armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, said determination should ne'er person been existent ammo present.

“Obviously I deliberation the manufacture has had a grounds precocious of being safe,” Mendoza said. “I deliberation determination was immoderate complacency connected this set, and I deliberation determination are immoderate information issues that request to beryllium addressed by the manufacture and perchance by the authorities of New Mexico.”

Mike Tristano, a seasoned movie weapons specialist, called it “appalling” that unrecorded rounds were mixed successful with blanks and dummy rounds.

“In implicit 600 films and TV shows that I’ve done, we’ve ne'er had a unrecorded circular connected set,” Tristano said.

The shooting occurred connected Bonanza Creek Ranch, a sprawling spot that bills itself arsenic “where the Old West comes alive.” More than 130 movies person been filmed there, dating backmost to Jimmy Stewart’s “The Man from Laramie” successful 1955. Other features person included “3:10 to Yuma,” “Cowboys and Aliens,” and the miniseries “Lonesome Dove.” The Tom Hanks Western “News of the World” and “The Comeback Trail” starring Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones, and Morgan Freeman were filmed determination successful caller years.

Bonanza Creek Ranch Security guards basal astatine the entranceway of Bonanza Creek Ranch successful Santa Fe, N.M., connected Oct. 22, 2021. (Anne Lebreton/AFP via Getty Images)

Workplace disputes beset the accumulation of “Rust” from its commencement successful aboriginal October. In the hours earlier the shooting, respective camera unit members walked disconnected the acceptable amid discord implicit moving conditions, including information procedures. A caller unit was hired that morning, but filming was dilatory due to the fact that they were down to 1 camera, Souza told detectives.

At 24, Gutierrez Reed had small acquisition moving arsenic an armorer. She told detectives that connected the greeting of the shooting, she checked the dummy bullets—bullets that look real, prevention for a tiny spread successful the broadside of the casing that identifies them arsenic inoperable—to guarantee nary were “hot,” according to a hunt warrant affidavit made nationalist Wednesday.

When the unit broke for lunch, the guns utilized for filming were locked successful a harmless wrong a ample achromatic motortruck wherever props were kept, Gutierrez Reed said. The ammunition, however, was near unsecured connected a cart. There was further ammo wrong the prop truck.

After lunch, the film’s prop master, Sarah Zachry, removed the guns from the harmless and handed them to Gutierrez Reed, Gutierrez Reed told investigators.

According to a hunt warrant affidavit released past Friday, Gutierrez Reed acceptable 3 guns connected a cart extracurricular the church, and adjunct manager Dave Halls took 1 from the cart and handed it to Baldwin. The papers released Wednesday said the armorer sometimes handed the weapon to Baldwin, and sometimes to Halls.

Gutierrez Reed declined to remark erstwhile contacted by The Associated Press connected Wednesday. She wrote successful a substance connection Monday that she was trying to find a lawyer.

However Halls obtained the limb earlier giving it to Baldwin, helium failed to afloat cheque it. Normally, helium told detectives, helium would analyse the tube for obstructions and person Gutierrez Reed unfastened the hatch and rotation the drum wherever the bullets go, confirming nary of the rounds is live.

This time, helium reported, helium could lone retrieve seeing 3 of the rounds, and helium didn’t retrieve if the armorer had spun the drum.

Nevertheless, helium yelled retired “cold gun” to bespeak it was harmless to use.

“He advised helium should person checked each of them, but didn’t,” a Santa Fe County sheriff’s detective wrote successful the affidavit released Wednesday.

It’s unclear whether Baldwin deliberately pulled the trigger oregon if the weapon went disconnected inadvertently.

In the commotion aft the shooting, Halls recovered the weapon—a achromatic revolver manufactured by an Italian institution that specializes successful 19th period reproductions—on a religion pew.

He brought it to Gutierrez Reed and told her to unfastened it truthful helium could spot what was inside. There were astatine slightest 4 dummy slug casings, with the tiny spread successful the side, helium told detectives.

There was 1 bare casing. It had nary hole.

By Morgan Lee, Susan Montoya Bryan, and Gene Johnson

The Associated Press

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