‘Rust’ assistant director admits he ‘should have checked’ gun before fatal on-set shooting.
From TheNPost.com Gabrielle Fonrouge and Jackie Silo October 27, 2021
New documents detailing the lead-up to the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of ‘Rust’ have revealed that the assistant director who handed the prop gun to Alec Baldwin and the production’s armorer did not appear to check the firearm properly.
The assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin the prop gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins admitted that he “should have checked” all of the rounds inside the barrel — and the production’s armorer may have neglected a key safety protocol before the fatal shooting, new documents reveal.
“Rust” assistant director David Halls said he picked up the gun and brought it over to the production’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, to be checked before resuming rehearsal the day of the fatal incident on the Santa Fe, New Mexico, production, according to a search warrant filed Wednesday in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court.
“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.
Halls said he only recalled seeing three rounds in the chamber.
“He advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t recall if [Gutierrez] spun the drum,” the warrant said.
After the round struck Hutchins in the chest and injured director Joel Souza, Halls picked up the gun from a pew in the church where they were filming.
Hannah then was told to ‘open’ the gun so he could see what was inside. David advised he could only remember seeing at least four ‘dummy’ casings with the hole on the side, and one without the hole,” the search warrant said.
No charges have been filed related to the incident.
Authorities were granted the warrant to search a “prop vehicle,” where firearms were allegedly stored on the production.
According to the search warrant, when the crew broke for lunch the day of the shooting, the firearms were secured in the prop truck.
During lunch, she stated the ammo was left on a cart on the set, not secured,” the warrant said.
She told authorities that “no live ammo is ever kept on set,” according to the warrant.
But Sheriff Adan Mendoza said Thursday that they recovered about 500 rounds of ammunition, including a “mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what we are suspecting live rounds.“
“We have recovered what we believe to be possible additional live rounds on set,” Mendoza told reporters.
He declined to speculate on how the live rounds wound up there.
“Right now, we’re going to determine how those got there, why they were there, because they shouldn’t have been there,” he said.