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So, That's Why Alec Baldwin Thought He Could Point a Prop Gun at People and Pull the Trigger

AP Photo/John Minchillo

Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed a woman on the set of his new movie Rust last week. It was the cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins. The director, Joel Souza, was also injured in the incident. The actor was practicing a stunt with a prop gun he thought was safe. It wasn’t. How could this have happened? Actor Brandon Lee was killed by a faulty prop gun on the set of 1994’s The Crow. This was a tragic throwback. Yet, the warrant obtained by local police to investigate and document what happened shows that this shooting was avoidable. For starters, as with any time you handle a firearm, fake or not, always treat it as if it’s loaded and don’t take anyone else’s word for it. Baldwin neglected to do the latter, which is how this reportedly happened (via Associated Press):

An assistant director unwittingly handed Alec Baldwin a loaded weapon and told him it was safe to use in the moments before the actor fatally shot a cinematographer, court records released Friday show.

“Cold gun,” the assistant director announced, according to a search warrant filed in a Santa Fe court.

Instead, the gun was loaded with live rounds, and when Baldwin pulled the trigger Thursday on the set of a Western, he killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her, was wounded, the records said.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office obtained the warrant Friday so investigators could document the scene at the ranch outside Santa Fe where the shooting took place. They sought to examine Baldwin’s blood-stained costume for the film “Rust,” as well as the weapon that was fired, other prop guns and ammunition, and any footage that might exist.

The gun was one of three that the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, had set on a cart outside the wooden structure where a scene was being acted, according to the records. Assistant director Dave Halls grabbed the gun from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds, a detective wrote in the search warrant application.

It was unclear how many rounds were fired. Gutierrez removed a shell casing from the gun after the shooting, and she turned the weapon over to police when they arrived, the court records say.

On Dana Loesch’s show, actor Adam Baldwin (no relation) wondered why the set armorer was not on set at the same time. Was this a COVID protocol? 

Still, while this by far is the worst incident to befall the production of this film, the camera crew did quit the day of the incident, noting the working conditions, long hours, and pay disputes. It seems this film was bound to become a perfect storm for a tragic event and well—here you go. 

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