Cameraman on Film Set: Baldwin Was 'Very Careful' With Guns

Director, crew speak out, while new clues emerge on how live round may have ended up in gun
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2021 7:34 AM CDT
Cameraman on Film Set: Baldwin Was 'Very Careful' With Guns
A photograph of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins is seen during a vigil in her honor in Albuquerque, NM, on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

An affidavit released Sunday details more on what went down on the New Mexico set of Rust, where a supposed prop gun being used by Alec Baldwin went off, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. "Joel stated that they had Alec sitting in a pew in a church building setting, and he was practicing a cross draw," the affidavit reads, per Reuters. "Joel said he was looking over the shoulder of [Hutchins], when he heard what sounded like a whip and then loud pop." Per his interview for the affidavit, Souza also recalled that Hutchins was "complaining about her stomach and grabbing her midsection," and then "began to stumble backwards and ... was assisted to the ground."

Also included in the affidavit: notes from an interview with cameraman Reid Russell, who'd been standing next to Hutchins and Souza before gunfire rang out, reports the New York Times. Russell told an investigator that after Baldwin's gun went off, he "remembered Joel having blood on his person, and Ms. Hutchins speaking and saying she couldn't feel her legs." Russell also noted that before the shooting, Baldwin had been "very careful" in handling firearms on the set, even making sure that a child was removed from his vicinity when he had to discharge a gun, per the affidavit.

Serge Svetnoy, the head electrician for the movie production and a longtime colleague of Hutchins, said in a Sunday Facebook post that he'd been "standing shoulder-to-shoulder" with her, and then "[held] her in my arms while she was dying. Her blood was on my hands." Svetnoy said a series of fails on the part of those who were supposed to check the guns is to blame. "It's the fault of negligence and unprofessionalism," he noted, adding that 24-year-old armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was simply too young to be given a task of this magnitude.

Meanwhile, a possible clue as to how a live round found its way into the gun. Multiple sources tied to the movie's production tell TMZ that the gun Baldwin used was also used by crew members for target practice after hours at a different location, with real bullets in play. One source who was reportedly on set when the police showed up after the shooting tells the outlet that cops found blanks for firearms were being stored in the same area as live ammunition, which could be another way a real bullet ended up in the gun. Reuters notes it hasn't been able to yet verify the TMZ report via Santa Fe police. (Read more Alec Baldwin stories.)

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