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“Rust” director told authorities Alec Baldwin was practicing drawing his gun when the gun fired

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Souza spoke to investigators on Friday, according to the affidavit released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday.

Souza told them that Baldwin was “sitting on a bench in a church building and practicing a cross-draw,” the affidavit said. A cross draw occurs when a shooter pulls the gun out of a holster on the opposite side of the body from the shooting hand.

Souza was looking over Hutchins’ shoulder “when he heard what sounded like a whip, then a loud noise,” according to the affidavit.

Souza recalled Hutchins “complaining about his stomach and grabbing his midsection” after the shot, according to the document.

Investigators also spoke to cameraman Reid Russell, who was standing next to Souza and Hutchins at the time of the incident, according to the affidavit.

Russell recalled that Hutchins “said she couldn’t feel her legs” and that doctors were treating her as she bled on the floor, investigators said.

Souza and Russell both acknowledged difficulties on set that day due to some members of the Camera Department being walked out for payment and accommodation. Due to manpower issues, Souza said, they only had one camera available to use that day, and it was not recording at the time of the incident.

Souza also confirmed to an investigator that he heard the term “cold weapon” on the set, meaning the gun should have been empty.

According to the warrant, Souza said three people handled the guns for scenes – they were checked by the gunsmith and first assistant director, then handed over to the actor who used them.

The investigator said Souza was unaware that anyone on set was checked to see if they had live ammunition on them before or after the scenes were filmed.

“The only thing checked are the guns to prevent live ammunition from there. Joel (Souza) said there should never be any live ammunition near or around the scene,” said affidavit.

Representatives for Souza did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment.

According to the affidavit, Russell told investigators that Baldwin “was trying to explain how he was going to get the gun out and where his arm would be when the gun was out of the holster.”

Russell “didn’t know why the gun was unloaded and just remembered the gun’s loud bang,” the affidavit states.

When asked how Baldwin handled the gun, Russell told investigators the actor “had been very careful” and recalled an earlier instance where Baldwin “made sure that he was safe and a child was not near him when they were discharging a gun during this scene. “

The search warrant was aimed at recovering images, video cameras, computer equipment and memory cards used by cameras on the set.

No charges have been laid. The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office said it would discuss the case in more detail at a press conference on Wednesday.

The deputy director has been the subject of complaints

According to an affidavit prior to a search warrant, the film’s deputy director David Halls handed the propeller pistol to Baldwin before filming and yelled “cold gun”.

Baldwin was handed one of three propeller guns installed in a cart by a gunsmith for the film and Halls was unaware that there were live ammunition in the gun, according to the affidavit.

Halls had been the subject of complaints about safety and his behavior on set during two productions in 2019, two people who worked closely with him told CNN.
Assistant director on

Complaints against Halls include failure to follow safety protocols for the use of weapons and pyrotechnics, blocked firefighter routes and exits, and cases of inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.

Maggie Goll, an IATSE Local 44 accessory maker and licensed pyrotechnician, said in a statement to CNN that while working on Hulu’s “Into the Dark” anthology series in February and May 2019, Halls neglected to organize safety meetings and systematically did not announce the presence of a firearm on the set to the crew, as is the protocol.

Halls did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on Goll’s allegations against him.

On the set of the movie “Freedom’s Path”, also in 2019, Halls was serving as assistant director, when a gun “unexpectedly fired” on set, causing a crew member to recoil. of the sound of the explosion and shutting down production, production company Rocket Soul Studios told CNN on Monday.

The sound team member was evacuated by a doctor on the set and advised to seek treatment. The crew member returned to production a few days later, Rocket Soul Studios said.

Following the incident, Halls was taken off set and fired from production, the company said.

“Dave had a lot of remorse for the events and understood the reasons he was fired,” said Rocket Soul Studios. “A new assistant director and a new gunsmith have been hired for the duration of the main shoot.”

The theaters could not be contacted for comment on the incident.

Three team members, who declined to be identified for fear of retaliation from the industry, said they were concerned for the safety of the team and actors on set even before the incident.

A crew member said moments before the accidental discharge, the pistol was advertised as a “no fire” or “cold weapon” for the scene. A second crew member said they repeatedly asked if the pistol was allowed to be used in shooting and did not receive a clear answer.

All three said the production did not hold regular safety meetings.

“He was a person with enough red flags that his career should have already ended with. Yet he was still there, putting the crew in outrageous situations. It’s hard to think Halyna would have just as much. well could have been one of our crews, ”said one of them. of them said.

Gun Safety on the Set of “Rust”

The gunsmith who prepared the propeller pistol used by Baldwin on Thursday was identified in search warrant documents as Hannah Gutierrez. She had recently completed work on her first project as chief gunsmith, she said in a podcast interview in September.

“I was really nervous at first,” Gutierrez said of his work as chief gunsmith on the set of “The Old Way”, with Nicolas Cage.

“I almost didn’t take the job because I wasn’t sure I was ready, but did it, like it had gone really well,” she said in an interview on the podcast. “Voices of the West”, dedicated to the old west.

Her job as a gunsmith ranges from teaching actors how to wear a rifle belt to aiming and shooting, she said.

There were at least two accidental firearms discharges on the set in the days leading up to the fatal shooting, according to multiple reports.

The shocks occurred on October 16, when crew members accidentally fired two shots after learning the weapon was “cold.” the Los Angeles Times reported, citing two crew members who allegedly witnessed the incident. It was not known whether the discharges included live ammunition. No one was injured in the accidental discharges, The The Wall Street Journal reported.

Producers of the film said in a statement Friday that they were not aware of the prop safety concerns before the fatal shooting.

“The safety of our cast and crew is a top priority for Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company. Although we have not been made aware of any official complaints regarding the safety of guns or accessories on the set, we will conduct an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down. We will continue to cooperate with Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and provide mental health services to cast and crew during this time. tragic, ”said Rust Movie Productions LLC.

CNN’s Julia Jones, Gregory Lemos, Mayumi Maruyama, Karen Smith and Lucy Kafanov contributed to this report.


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