When an assistant director handed Alec Baldwin a loaded weapon he let everyone know it was safe to use. “Cold gun,” Dave Halls yelled on Thursday as the film crew and actors prepared to rehearse a scene, two words meant to convey that the weapon didn’t have any live ammo, according to a search warrant. But the truth was quite the opposite and when Baldwin pulled the trigger, he killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza. Halls also didn’t know there were live rounds in the prop gun, according to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.
The gun that Halls handed to Baldwin was one of three that the armorer for the movie, Hannah Gutierrez, had put on a cart. Baldwin said Friday that he was heartbroken by what happened and said he was fully cooperating with the investigation. “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 tweeted.
No charges have been filed in the deaths that came at a time when several crew members walked out of the set of Rust, in part due to concerns over safety. The crew members were concerned that COVID-19 protocols weren’t being followed and gun inspections were deficient. There were two accidental prop gun discharges before the fatal accident on Thursday, crew members tell the Los Angeles Times. Baldwin’s stunt double had accidentally fired two rounds last week, also after he was told the gun was “cold.” A few crew members expressed concern that no one seemed particularly interested in investigating what happened. “There should have been an investigation into what happened,” a crew member told the Los Angeles 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.” The production company said it didn’t receive any complaints about safety on the set but vowed to carry out its own investigation.