May 28, 2022 8:41 pm
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SANTA FE (AP) — As a cast of actors dressed in Western attire prepared to rehearse a scene within a chapel-like structure on a desert movie ranch near Santa Fe, Dave Halls, assistant director, stepped out and pulled a prop gun from a cart. He returned to the set and handed it to Alec Baldwin. Halls assured him that it wasn’t loaded with live ammunition, so it was safe for use. Halls shouted

“Cold gun.”

According to court records, it wasn’t. Baldwin fired the trigger on Thursday and killed Halyna Hutchins, a cinematographer, and injured Joel Souza who was standing by her.

This tragedy occurred nearly three decades after Brandon Lee died in a similar incident. It prompted horrified questions as to how it could have happened again. The executive producer of ABC’s police drama “The Rookie” announced Friday the show would no longer use “live” weapons because the “safety of our cast and crew is too important.”

Details of the shooting at the ranch on Bonanza Creek Road were included in a search warrant application filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators sought to inspect Baldwin’s blood-stained costume from the film “Rust” as well as any other prop guns, ammunition and footage.

The gun, which Hannah Gutierrez, the film’s armourer, had placed on a cart outside of the building where a scene was being performed, was the one that was used. Halls took the gun from the cart, and brought it into Baldwin’s room. He was not aware that the gun contained live rounds. This detective wrote in the application for a search warrant.

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It was unclear how many rounds were fired. Gutierrez took out a shell casing and turned it over to police upon arrival, according to court records.

Halls didn’t immediately respond to email and phone messages seeking comment. Gutierrez was not able to be reached by the Associated Press. Several messages were sent to production companies that are associated with the film, but they weren’t immediately returned.

Mamie Mitchell, the film’s script supervisor said that she was standing right next to Hutchins during the shooting.

” I ran out and called 911, and she said, ‘Bring everyone, send everybody.’ Mitchell explained to The Associated Press. “This woman has died at the start of her career. She was an extraordinary, rare, very rare woman.”

Mitchell said she and other crew members were attending a private memorial service Friday night in Santa Fe.

Baldwin described the killing as a “tragic accident.”

“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. Baldwin posted on Twitter that she was fully cooperating in the police investigation. “My heart breaks for her husband and their son and all those who loved Halyna .”

No immediate charges were brought against Baldwin, but Juan Rios, the sheriff’s spokesperson, said that Baldwin was allowed to travel.

“He’s a free man,” Rios said.

Images of the 63-year-old actor — known for his roles in “30 Rock” and “The Hunt for Red October” and his impression of former President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live” — showed him distraught outside the sheriff’s office on Thursday.

Some guns used in movies can fire bullets or blanks. These are gunpowder charges which produce a flash and bang, but no deadly projectile. Blanks can even eject hot gasses and paper from their barrels, which can prove to be deadly at close range. This was the case with the death of an actor from 1984..

A bullet left in a prop gun caused another shooting accident that resulted in Lee’s death. Similar shootings have also occurred with stage weapons loaded with live ammunition during historical reenactments.

The gun-safety protocol for sets in the United States has improved, according to Steven Hall, a British veteran director of photography. He said that the most dangerous position to be in was behind the camera. This is because the person is directly in front of the camera in scenes in which an actor seems to point a gun at their audience. Rios stated that

Sheriff’s officers responded to calls about a person being filmed at Bonanza Creek Ranch around 2 p.m. The ranch has been used in dozens of films, including the recent Tom Hanks Western “News of the World.”

Hutchins, 42, worked as director of photography on the 2020 action film “Archenemy” starring Joe Manganiello. She graduated 2015 from the American Film Institute. In 2019., she was named “rising star” by American Cinematographer.

” I’m so sorry for Halyna. On Twitter, Adam Egypt Mortimer, director of Archenemy, said that he was “so infuriated” that such a thing could happen on a film set. “She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film.”

Manganiello called Hutchins “an incredible talent” and “a great person” on his Instagram account. He stated that he was grateful to have had the opportunity to work with her.

After the shooting, production was halted on “Rust.” The movie is about a 13-year-old boy who is left to fend for himself and his younger brother following the death of their parents in 1880s Kansas, according to the Internet Movie Database website. After being sentenced for the murder of a local rancher, the teen runs away with Baldwin’s grandfather.

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Associated Press writers Jake Coyle and Jocelyn Noveck in New York; Lizzie Knight in London; Yuras Karmanau in Kyiv, Ukraine; Ryan Pearson in Los Angeles; Walter Berry in Phoenix; and Gene Johnson in Seattle contributed to this report.