Baldwin Rust Shooting Prop Firearm Movie Set
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza, front, speaks Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, rear, listens during a news conference in Santa Fe, N.M., Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. New Mexico authorities said Wednesday they have recovered a lead projectile believed to have been fired from the gun used in the fatal movie-set shooting. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
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By Morgan Lee, Susan Montoya and Gene Johnson, AP

Light from a high afternoon sun slanted through the tall windows of the weathered wooden church, catching on the plank floorboards and illuminating the stained glass. Outside, the arid ground of the northern New Mexico foothills stretched for miles — a picturesque setting for an Old West gun battle.

The actor Alec Baldwin, haggard in a white beard and period garb as he played a wounded character named Harlan Rust, sat in a pew, working out how he would draw a long-barreled Colt .45 revolver across his body and aim it toward the movie camera.

A crew readied the shot after adjusting the camera angle to account for the shadows. The camera wasn’t rolling yet, but director Joel Souza peered over the shoulder of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins to see what it saw.

Souza heard what sounded like a whip followed by a loud pop, he would later tell investigators.

Suddenly Hutchins was complaining about her stomach, grabbing her midsection and stumbling backward, saying she couldn’t feel her legs. Souza saw that she was bloodied, and that he was bleeding too: The lead from Baldwin’s gun had pierced Hutchins and embedded in his shoulder.

A medic began trying to save Hutchins as people streamed out of the building and called 911. Lighting specialist Serge Svetnoy said he held her as she was dying, her blood on his hands. Responders flew Hutchins in a helicopter to a hospital, to no avail.

A week after the Oct. 21 shooting on the set of the movie “Rust,” accounts and images released in court documents, interviews and social media postings have portrayed much of what happened during the tragedy, but they have yet to answer the key question: how live ammunition wound up in a real gun being used as a movie prop, despite precautions that should have prevented it.

During a news conference Wednesday, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said there was “some complacency” in how weapons were handled on the set. Investigators found 500 rounds of ammunition — a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what appeared to be live rounds, even though the set’s firearms specialist, armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, said there should never have been real ammo present.

“Obviously I think the industry has had a record recently of being safe,” Mendoza said. “I think there was some complacency on this set, and I think there are some safety issues that need to be addressed by the industry and possibly by the state of New Mexico.”

Mike Tristano, a veteran movie weapons specialist, called it “appalling” that live rounds were mixed in with blanks and dummy rounds.

“In over 600 films and TV shows that I’ve done, we’ve never had a live round on set,” Tristano said.

Baldwin Rust Shooting Prop Firearm Movie Set
This aerial photo shows a film set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of a Western being filmed at the ranch on Thursday, Oct. 21, killing the cinematographer, officials said. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The shooting occurred on Bonanza Creek Ranch, a sprawling property that bills itself as “where the Old West comes alive.” More than 130 movies have been filmed there, dating back to Jimmy Stewart’s “The Man from Laramie” in 1955. Other features have 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 there in recent years.

Workplace disputes beset the production of “Rust” from its start in early October. In the hours before the shooting, several camera crew members walked off the set amid discord over working conditions, including safety procedures. A new crew was hired that morning, but filming was slow because they were down to one camera, Souza told detectives.

At 24, Gutierrez Reed had little experience working as an armorer. She told detectives that on the morning of the shooting, she checked the dummy bullets — bullets that appear real, save for a small hole in the side of the casing that identifies them as inoperable — to ensure none were “hot,” according to a search warrant affidavit made public Wednesday.

When the crew broke for lunch, the guns used for filming were locked in a safe inside a large white truck where props were kept, Gutierrez Reed said. The ammunition, however, was left unsecured on a cart. There was additional ammo inside the prop truck.

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

According to a search warrant affidavit released last Friday, Gutierrez Reed set three guns on a cart outside the church, and assistant director Dave Halls took one from the cart and handed it to Baldwin. The document released Wednesday said the armorer sometimes handed the gun to Baldwin, and sometimes to Halls.

Gutierrez Reed declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press on Wednesday. She wrote in a text message Monday that she was trying to find a lawyer.

However Halls obtained the weapon before giving it to Baldwin, he failed to fully check it. Normally, he told detectives, he would examine the barrel for obstructions and have Gutierrez Reed open the hatch and spin the drum where the bullets go, confirming none of the rounds is live.

This time, he reported, he could only remember seeing three of the rounds, and he didn’t remember if the armorer had spun the drum.

Nevertheless, he yelled out “cold gun” to indicate it was safe to use.

“He advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t,” a Santa Fe County sheriff’s detective wrote in the affidavit released Wednesday.

It’s unclear whether Baldwin deliberately pulled the trigger or if the gun went off inadvertently.

In the commotion after the shooting, Halls found the weapon — a black revolver manufactured by an Italian company that specializes in 19th century reproductions — on a church pew.

He brought it to Gutierrez Reed and told her to open it so he could see what was inside. There were at least four dummy bullet casings, with the small hole in the side, he told detectives.

There was one empty casing. It had no hole.

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48 COMMENTS

  1. Arrest Baldwin for Manslaughter. Throw the book at him!! Arrest the armorer and director for manslaughter too. There was no excuse to have live ammo on set. No excuse to not follow either standard movie rules. No excuse to not follow the 4 rules for safe gun handling. Arrest amd prosecute them all!! Strip them of their rights! Don’t pander to celebrities!!

    • Follow the evidence and press appropriate charges against those who were responsible. But genuine justice does not mandate “throwing the book” at someone or “arresting and prosecuting them all”. There was certainly gross negligence, and those who were responsible should continue to be held responsible, including possible criminal charges. But those who were not responsible and didn’t have any part of it should not be indicted.

      If we truly want celebrities to be held to the same bar as everyone else, then we need to conduct the same level of investigative scrutiny for Baldwin, just as would be done for anyone else. The proper determination should include the proper charge(s).

      • I fully agree.

        Think of it this way, if this were another situation, or same situation with someone less famous. How would it go?
        Two friends of mine were out one night, one wanted to go to the bar, one didn’t but went anyways because they’re best friends, the one that didn’t literally had one beer and talked the other guy into leaving. On the way home it was raining and night and he took a curve a bit too fast, causing the vehicle to slide off the road and over a small embankment, gentle wreck actually, I was one of the first firefighters/emt to arrive on scene, was a very minor wreck. However, the vehicle hit a tree just right on the pass side door at the perfect angle that it took the guys life.
        The one beer guy driving spent time in prison and has a life long felony conviction because the court ruled the beer beforehand was negligent on his part and could have contributed to the loss of control of the vehicle.

        Baldwins negligence caused the death of someone, freak accidents happen, but knowing you are holding a device that is specifically designed to kill something and being negligent with it is inexcusable. He should be held to the exact same standards as anyone else who would have done the same.
        I feel the court should evaluate previous similar court rulings and make the judgment based on that, equal justice for all.

      • “If we truly want celebrities to be held to the same bar as everyone else, then we need to conduct the same level of investigative scrutiny for Baldwin, just as would be done for anyone else.”

        I would like Baldwin held to the *exact* same level of accountability he would have loved to hold one of us to.

        As in, every bit of the hate and naked contempt he has so freely expressed in public about gun owners… 🙂

      • The user of the firearm is ultimately responsible for what happens with it.
        Other people may be culpable but Baldwin is the one responsible. Period

    • You know whose fault it really is?
      Pietta.

      If they hadn’t manufactured that gun, the poor woman would still be alive, and Alec Baldwin would host SNL for the 87th time.

      /snark

  2. AP: “…open the hatch and spin the drum where the bullets go…”

    In an article about a tragedy, the AP writers give us hilarious ignorance.

    • also – “It’s unclear whether Baldwin deliberately pulled the trigger or if the gun went off inadvertently.”
      …Whoever wrote this is an idiot.

      • Actually that statement is 100% correct, and reflects one of the points that would be considered in any investigation of a shooting like this. The level of intent is a specific factor in determining which (if any) law was violated.

        If this shooting had occurred among regular people not involved in a theatrical production, whether the shooter deliberately pulled the trigger or accidentally pulled the trigger would be the difference between whether the shooting was ‘wanton’ or ‘negligent’ which in most states would determine exactly what charge would be appropriate.

        In this particular shooting, it is immaterial whether he deliberately pulled the trigger or inadvertently pulled the trigger while drawing the pistol, because either way there is no indication of intent. The handling of weapons in a theatrical production have completely different procedures that have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with Jeff Coopers so-called “Four Rules” for handling firearms.

        There were multiple violations of the standard rules for handling guns and ammunition in a movie production during this filming. Whether those failures rise to the level of criminal misconduct and whose failures are questions first for prosecutors and then for a jury. From the facts available so far, it seems that the armorer (Gutierrez Reed) almost certainly was grossly negligent throughout the production, and there is evidence that the Assistant Director (Halls) was negligent in disregarding several of the proper procedures specifically when he obtained the gun, announced it was cold, and gave it to the Actor (Baldwin). One MIGHT make a case that the Actor (Baldwin) was also negligent in that he should have known that the procedures were not followed properly and completely – but that failure probably does not rise to the level of criminal misconduct.

        The one person we have not discussed who absolutely bears tort liability and may bear criminal responsibility is the Producer (also Baldwin) who is responsible for hiring/approving the crew and ensuring that proper safety procedures are enforced. IF Baldwin is criminally responsible, it would be for allowing the wantonly unsafe practices to occur throughout the production, not for his action as an actor firing the gun.

        • well, no, its not 100% correct.

          inadvertently means “without intention” as in “accidentally”.

          It was not an accident he pulled the trigger. In the scene he was practicing he was suppose to pull the trigger, that is an intentional act and not an accident.

        • I intended to take my foot off the gas and step on the accelerator, but I did not intend to rear end you. I intended to light the barbecue, but I did not intend for it to blow up in your face. I intended to cut that branch but I did not intend to have it fall on your house. In all of these examples, there was an intent to do an act, but no intent to cause a harm or injury. Baldwin intended to pull the trigger, but he did no intend for the gun to fire. As far as he knew, all of the rounds in the gun at the time were dummy rounds, used as you know to make it look like a gun is loaded when it really is not. Unless he had a duty to personally inspect the rounds when he accepted the gun and could not rely on the word of the asst director, then there is a possible case for negligent homicide. On the other hand, as we know too well, most of these gun hating Hollyweird liberal elites know nothing about firearms.
          Personally, if I were to make a dummy round, it would not have a “small hole in the side of the casing,” it would have no primer. (Well, maybe that is what these idiots meant to say, but can’t be sure.)

        • Unfortunately you have never heard of negligent homicide and you are dead wrong about Baldwin not being responsible for shooting the gun. Anyone who knows anything about firearms knows that the user is the person ultimately responsible for what happens with a firearm they are handling and the first rule of gun safety is to check the condition of your firearm and unless proven otherwise assume the gun is loaded. You can quote all the law theory you would like but I would like to see the actual cases that let someone off the hook as you have described it.

      • A journalist , so the same thing.

        There’s just so levels of epic fail in this accident. Gate loading SA revolvers can be a pain in the @$$ to check and recheck but the price of complacency is very high.

        • It is easy if all of the dummy rounds have no primers. Just open the gate, put it on half cock, and spin the cylinder past six rounds. So easy even a six year old can do it.

      • Yes particularly if it was a single action revolver that can only fire if the hammer is all the way back or it is fanned. Very hard if even possible to discharge a single action firearm if the hammer is not set

    • Not the words of the AP. It is the assistant director that is that clueless.
      The police affidavit (per the New York Post) quotes David Halls, the Assistant Director:

      “David advised when Hannah showed him the firearm before continuing rehearsal, he could only remember seeing three rounds. He advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t recall if she spun the drum,” detectives wrote in the affidavit.

      When asked about the safety protocols on set in regards to firearms, Hall told police the armorer “spins the drum” and checks to ensure there are no live rounds before handing it off.

      Halls said he picked up the gun and brought it over to the production’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, to be checked before resuming rehearsal.

      “I check the barrel for obstructions, most of the time there’s no live fire, [Hannah] opens the hatch and spins the drum, and I say cold gun on set,” Halls told authorities, referring to a production term that means that the firearm doesn’t contain live rounds and is safe for rehearsal.

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    The Sheriff Investigating Alec Baldwin’s Shooting Just Gave an Update on If He’ll Be Criminally Charged
    Jason Pham
    Wed, October 27, 2021, 3:30 PM

    Since the news of his prop gun shooting on the set of his upcoming movie, Rust, fans have wondered if Alec Baldwin will be charged for the death of his cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, who was killed after Baldwin fatally shot her with a prop gun that had an accidental live round in it.

    The shooting occurred on October 21, 2021, when Baldwin had misfired a prop gun that killed Hutchins and injured the movie’s director, Joel Souza, on the set of Rust, at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico. In a statement after the accident, Baldwin expressed his “shock and sadness” over Hutchins’ death, and confirmed that he’s been “fully cooperating” with the police on how the misfire occurred. “There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours,” he tweeted at the time. “I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”

  4. complacency:
    complacency
    [kəmˈplāsənsē]
    NOUN
    a word used by the sheriff when hes laying the groundwork for “no charges recommended”

  5. Never mind the armorer yada, yada, yada…It would have taken less than 20 seconds for Alec Baldwin to verify the weapon safe for “him” to point and fire in the direction of others. Of course you have to be the type of person who sees to it come hell and high water everyone is kept safe. Clearly Alec Baldwin was not that person.

    Handling firearms properly is something you cannot buy your way in anymore that you can run buy a fiddle and play Carnegie Hall.

    • Actually, a total dolt can play in Carnegie Hall, as it is available for rent to pretty much anyone who can crap the cash.

      But it won’t be cheap, and no one will pay any money to see them play… 🙂

  6. “It’s unclear whether Baldwin deliberately pulled the trigger or if the gun went off inadvertently.”

    Wait, is this another example of gun violence where the gun just up and decides it needs to go off and shoot someone rather than waiting for some hapless clueless person to pull the trigger???

  7. in related news:
    halynas husband is a lawyer in the firm thats represents the guy that was indicted by durham for lying to the fbi about trump russia collusion matters
    thats kinda cool huh

  8. Who hires silly little blue haired club girls to handle their “armory”? Oh yeah, hollyweird woke morons.

  9. “Some Complacency”

    Apparently the newest spokesperson at the Sheriff’s Department is the well-know Captain Obvious

  10. ‘There Was Some Complacency’

    that’s such a nice way to say bordering on ‘intentional criminal negligence’

  11. “Since the news of his prop gun shooting on the set of his upcoming movie, Rust, fans have wondered if Alec Baldwin will be charged for the death of his cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, who was killed after Baldwin fatally shot her with a prop gun that had an accidental live round in it.”

    accidental live round ?

    Wow! we can call this from now on the “Baldwin Defense”.

  12. Baldwain as producer….
    … wrecklessly hired the incompetent girl despite her known safety infractions in the past
    … wrecklessly proceeded with filming after part of the crew had walked out for safety issues
    … wrecklessly accepted the gun from a non-armorer
    … wrecklessly used the prop without checking for safety
    … apparently wrecklessly let the crew use live ammo for tagert practice in off-hours games

    He needs to serve time.

  13. I am tempted to suggest that the armorer should be publicly flogged, just like the flogging scene in THE VIKING QUEEN. (it was a PG-13 movie back in the 1960s but you can only find it on open sites. Ditto for the carwash scene in the Oscar award winning movie, COOL HAND LUKE.). However; given the labor strife, we should not exclude the possibility that someone switched a live round for a dummy round.

    • On, the crew that had been shooting the gun off-set with live ammo left a round in it when they bought it back and just reloaded empty chambers with dummy’s and put the gun back. Or it could be they got the ammo intermixed, with their search warrant they found boxes of live ammo on set.

  14. Okay. We get it. Hollywood fucked up. Again. They always do. Can we talk about something else. This news is so old it stinks like road kill.

  15. “‘There Was Some Complacency’ About Gun Safety On the ‘Rust’ Movie Set”

    there’s some complacency about spending in congress.

  16. “….open the hatch and spin the drum where the bullets go….”

    Or perhaps in this case, where the bullets *don’t* go.

  17. Well as projected by many this is going to turn out to be one horrendous joke. They are setting this up to let Baldwin go free or with some minor slap on the wrist. I would like to ask the Sheriff if I handed him a firearm for his days work and said it was “cold” would he take my word for it or check it himself as Baldwin should have done. First rule of safety is to check the condition of your weapon for its intended use. Every firearm is assumed to be loaded and ready to go unless it is checked and determined not to be. Baldwin was the Producer and User of the firearm and trust me he knew better as this was not his first Rodeo. He killed someone and should be charged with criminal negligence.

  18. The complacency on a set is largely due to there never being live ammo, ever. As for the propmaster, she’s worked with her father before on sets and he’s the man to go to for correct handling.

    The ammo being out in the open is an issue, and who put live ammo in the mix on a set is the culprit. Do the math, three guns, a few live rounds, it’s either a deliberate setup to kill that person with Baldwin deliberately pulling the trigger, or, it was one of the union workers creating a terrorist incident hoping a live round would get loaded and shot at random.

    Blame Baldwin because he failed to check, yes. But he didn’t put a live round in the gun, and he was handed that gun by someone who didn’t check, but should have. Blame Baldwin because he actually pointed it and pulled the trigger, yes, blanks are a well known hazard and you don’t play around on the set doing that. Someone else brought live ammo on the set and placed it with blanks nonetheless.

    Apply forensic logic to what happened here. There is a chain of stupidity, the reason why live ammo was mixed in with blanks is where to start.

  19. Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said there was “some complacency” in how weapons were handled on the set.

    If this guy has been investigating the Titanic disaster, he’d have noted there was “some moisture” below decks.

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