As we hear more about the tragic accident in which actor Alec Baldwin shot and killed a cinematographer on a New Mexico film set, the more heartbreaking the story sounds.
New details are emerging day by day, and we’ve now learned that crew members played target practice with the gun that killed Halyna Hutchins on the set of Baldwin’s film Rust. Director Joel Souza also sustained injuries in the shooting.
Fox News reports that, according to the initial search warrant, crew members told Baldwin that the gun was ready for use on set:
According to a search warrant executed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office, obtained by Fox News, armorer Hanna Gutierrez Reed handled the prop gun, leaving it among others on a cart outside the set location they were filming. Assistant director Dave Halls then retrieved the gun and handed it to actor Alec Baldwin announcing that it was a “cold gun,” a term used to indicate that a prop gun is safe to handle and not loaded with live ammunition.
But The Wrap reports that crew members are telling a further story — that the crew used guns from the set to shoot at cans earlier that day:
A number of crew members had taken prop guns from the New Mexico set of the indie Western — including the gun that killed Hutchins — to go “plinking,” a hobby in which people shoot at beer cans with live ammunition to pass the time, the insider said.
The shooting happened just a few hours later, when lead actor and producer Alec Baldwin discharged a revolver after first assistant director David Halls confirmed that it was a “cold gun,” meaning that the gun did not have any live ammunition in it.
Other crew members have spoken of walkouts on the set over working conditions and housing and payroll issues. Under International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union rules, such a walkout should have triggered a 24–48 hour shutdown to allow producers to remedy issues, but producers on the Rust set instead hired non-union crew to replace them.
Related: Yes, We Should Absolutely Mock Alec Baldwin
As the investigation continues, it’s unclear what charges could stem from the incident, but armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, first assistant director David Halls, and Baldwin could all potentially face criminal or legal action as a result of this horrible accident — which could have been prevented.
All the producers will say is this:
In a previous statement, issued to multiple outlets, Rust Movie Productions said: “The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company. Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down. We will continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and offer mental health services to the cast and crew during this tragic time.”
Stay tuned as we learn more about what happened onset in New Mexico.
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