Asst. Director Unknowingly Handed Alec Baldwin a Gun with Live Ammunition Before On-Set Shooting: Reports

A search warrant affidavit filed in Santa Fe County on Friday reportedly states that neither Alec Baldwin nor the assistant director was aware the gun was loaded

Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin. Photo: Jim Spellman/Getty Images

Alec Baldwin was unknowingly handed a gun loaded with live ammunition during rehearsals on the New Mexico set of his western film Rust on Thursday, according to multiple reports.

Moments later, the gun discharged and fatally struck cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in the chest. Director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her, was struck in his shoulder, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the Associated Press, New York Times, and Santa Fe Reporter.

Authorities wrote in the affidavit that an assistant director picked up a prop gun from a rolling cart prepared by the armorer and handed it to Baldwin, the outlets report.

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As the assistant director retrieved the weapon, they yelled "Cold Gun!" (a phrase that is meant to indicate that the gun is not loaded and is safe to handle), the documents read, per the NYT and SF Reporter.

Neither Baldwin, 63, nor the assistant director were aware that the gun was loaded with live ammunition, the affidavit states, according to multiple outlets.

The documents reportedly did not make it clear what type of ammunition was loaded into the gun. Prior to the filing of the affidavit, authorities had not publicly confirmed if there was a live round in the prop gun.

Halyna Hutchins Joel Souza
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On Thursday, Baldwin's prop gun misfired at the Bonanza Creek Ranch set of Rust in New Mexico. Upon further investigation, the local sheriff's department learned that Hutchins and director Joel Souza were "shot when a prop firearm was discharged" by Baldwin.

Hutchins was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she died from her injuries, according to the sheriff's department.

Souza was treated for his injuries at Christus St. Vincent's hospital on Thursday night, officials said. On Friday, his reps confirmed to Deadline that he had been released.

Baldwin first spoke out regarding the incident on Friday morning, issuing a two-part statement on Twitter.

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"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," the actor began.

"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," he continued. "My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna."

Halyna Hutchins
Halyna Hutchins. Fred Hayes/Getty

So far, no charges have been filed. The investigation into the incident remains ongoing.

The film set has now been shut down, with production indefinitely paused, according to the film's production company, Rust Movie Productions LLC.

"The entire cast and crew has been absolutely devastated by today's tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Halyna's family and loved ones," Rust Movie Productions LLC said in a statement. "We have halted production on the film for an undetermined period of time and are fully cooperating with the Santa Fe Police Department's investigation. We will be providing counseling services to everyone connected to the film as we work to process this awful event."

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