Alec Baldwin was given a prop weapon by an assistant director who told the actor-producer it was safe to use just before he fired the gun, fatally shooting cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, a search warrant filed in Santa Fe, New Mexico court Friday shows. The assistant director did not know the gun was loaded with live rounds, the document notes. Hutchins was shot in the chest, while Rust director Joel Souza was wounded. Hutchins died from her wounds at a nearby hospital.
Investigators obtained the warrant to document the scene at Bonanza Creek Ranch, where the Western film was being made, reports the Associated Press. The document shows that Baldwin's blood-stained costume for the film and the weapon itself were both taken as evidence. Police also seized other prop guns and ammunition from the scene. Baldwin has not been charged, and no charges have been filed in the incident. Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office spokesman Juan Rios told the AP Baldwin could travel.
Three crew members who were at the scene on Thursday told the Los Angeles Times that the prop gun was accidentally discharged twice on Saturday. Baldwin's stunt double accidentally fired two rounds on Saturday after he was told the weapon was "cold," meaning it was not supposed to have any ammunition. "There should have been an investigation into what happened," one crew member told the Times. "There were no safety meetings. There was no assurance that it wouldn't happen again. All they wanted to do was rush, rush, rush."
Sources previously told the Times that union camera crew members walked off the set Thursday morning in protest of working conditions, and they were quickly replaced by non-union workers. Sheriff's deputies arrived at the ranch just before 2 p.m. Thursday, after receiving a 911 call about a shooting. Production on Rust, which Baldwin is also a producer for, was halted.
While the sheriff's office continues its investigation, New Mexico's Operational Health and Safety Bureau (OHSA) also launched an investigation. The organization can impose a civil penalty for a workplace accident. "Our state OSHA program is investigating this," Rebecca Rose, deputy cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department, told Deadline Friday. "The state takes all workplace safety issues very seriously and will work diligently through our investigation of this tragic fatality."
"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 said in a statement on Twitter Friday morning. "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."