Workers on Baldwin Film Say Gun Misfire Wasn't the First

Sources say there were at least 3 previous ones on set; camera crew walked out right before shooting
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2021 7:30 AM CDT
Crew on Baldwin Movie Allege Lack of Safety on Set
Alec Baldwin speaks on the phone in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office in Santa Fe, NM, after the fatal shooting on Thursday.   (Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)

(Newser) – More details are trickling out about the tragic accident Thursday involving Alec Baldwin, in which he fired a prop gun on a New Mexico movie set that ended up killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. A prop makers union has said that a "live single round" somehow got fired, and sources tell the Los Angeles Times there'd been complaints on the set of Rust that safety protocols such as gun inspections hadn't been followed to the letter. Two crew members also tell the paper that on Oct. 16, just a few days before the fatal shooting, the prop gun Baldwin's stunt double was handling misfired two times after he'd been told the gun didn't have ammo or blanks in it, meaning it was "cold."

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"There should have been an investigation into what happened," one of the crew members at the Bonanza Creek Ranch tells the paper. "There were no safety meetings. There was no assurance that it wouldn't happen again. All they wanted to do was rush, rush, rush." Another staffer sent a text, seen by the Times, to the unit production manager, warning, "We've now had 3 accidental discharges. This is super unsafe." It's not clear when the third misfire is said to have happened. A source who talked to Deadline backs up part of the Times report, noting, "A gun had two misfires in a closed cabin. ... A person was just holding it in their hands and it went off."

The AP cites court records made public Friday that detail further what happened in Baldwin's case, noting that assistant director Dave Halls was the one who grabbed one of three guns off a cart near where the scene was being shot and handed it to Baldwin, assuring the actor it was "cold." The guns on the cart had been placed there by Hannah Gutierrez, the person in charge of handling the guns for the movie, aka the armorer, the records state. Sources tell the Times that Baldwin took the gun out of his holster once without anything happening, but the second time he did so, the gun fired, leading to Hutchins and Souza getting hit. The investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

In a statement, Rust Movie Productions insists it hadn't received any "official complaints" about gun safety, prop or otherwise, on set, but it notes it "will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down." Meanwhile, Deadline reports that seven of the movie's camera crew walked off the set Thursday before the shooting, complaining of not only the gun safety issue, but also a lack of safety around COVID, not getting paid for weeks on end, and lodgings issues. Hutchins herself had been upset at how the camera staff had been treated, one crew member says, telling the Times that when the staffers walked off the set, Hutchins said, "I feel like I'm losing my best friends." (Read more Alec Baldwin stories.)

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