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Assistant Director Told Alec Baldwin Gun Was Safe Before Tragic Death

Alec Baldwin
Actor Alec Baldwin was told by a crew member on set that the gun he had was “cold,” which means it did not have live rounds loaded before he accidentally killed Halyna Hutchins. Credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

An assistant director on the set of “Rust” told Alec Baldwin that the gun he was using for the scene was a “cold gun,” or a firearm without a live round loaded into the chamber, according to a court document released on Saturday.

The court document is an affidavit for a search warrant for the set of “Rust” filed by the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office. The affidavit says that assistant director David Halls yelled “cold gun” on set after the armorer for “Rust” prepared the gun. The affidavit says that Hall was unaware of the live rounds in the weapon.

Baldwin preceded to accidentally fire a live round, killing Halyna Hutchins, a 42-year-old cinematographer who was the director of photography for the movie. Director Joel Souza was also struck and injured.

Hannah Gutierrez, the head armorer for “Rust,” had voiced uncertainty about her ability as an armorer just a month before shooting started in a podcast interview with the Voices of the West podcast.

Guiterrez, speaking about her first job as head armorer on “The Old Way,” starring Nicolas Cage, told the hosts that she “almost didn’t take the job because I wasn’t sure if I was ready, but doing it, like it went really smoothly.”

Crew Members had walked off set due to working conditions before accidental shooting took place

The Los Angeles Times reported that the set had experienced a wave of crew member dissatisfaction before Thursday, with multiple people working on the production walking out over unfair labor conditions. Crew workers complained that their pay was not proportionate to the long hours and demanding environment of the low-budget western.

The report also claims that safety issues contributed to the crew members issues with the set, and that the gun had misfired twice by Baldwin’s stunt double during filming on October 16, days before Hutchins death took place. The stunt man, like Baldwin, had been told that the gun was cold.

Rust Movie Productions LLC, the film’s production company, said in a statement that they no official complaints had been brought to their attention, but that they will be reevaluating their safety procedures:

“We will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shutdown. The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company.”

Despite the new information provided by the affidavit, some weapons experts still believe that the blame falls on Baldwin for pointing the gun in the direction of the crew.

Bryan Carpenter, the armorer for Dark Thirty Films and a private military contractor, told The New York Post that “loaded or unloaded, a weapon never gets pointed at another human being, you never let the muzzle of a weapon cover something you don’t intend to destroy.”




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