Director Joel Souza told police he heard what sounded ”like a whip and then loud pop“ in the accident that killed Halyna Hutchins
New details in a search warrant issued for the Alec Baldwin movie “Rust” revealed that the gun that killed Halyna Hutchins discharged while Baldwin was rehearsing a scene in which he was “pointing the revolver towards the camera lens.” It also includes director Joel Souza’s account of Hutchins’ final moments and even the grim details of the blood stains that appeared on Baldwin’s costume.
While speaking to police on Friday, Souza recalled standing over the shoulder of his cinematographer, Hutchins, while Baldwin was sitting on a wooden church pew and practiced cross drawing his weapon, only to then hear what sounded “like a whip and then loud pop.”
Souza then remembered Hutchins complaining about a pain in her stomach, grabbing her midsection and then stumbling backwards as she was assisted to the ground. Souza then noticed he too was bleeding from his shoulder and saw the blood on Hutchins.
The details came in a pair of search warrants released Sunday by the Santa Fe County Sheriff Department to the press and reviewed by TheWrap. They confirm some of the earlier reported details about complaints on set by the camera crew and the timeline of events that led to the accident.
The warrants say that assistant director Dave Halls had grabbed one of three prop guns set up by armorer Hannah Gutierrez and yelled “cold gun” as he handed it to Baldwin, indicating that the gun did not have any live rounds.
Souza explained in his police statement that he believed too that the gun was safe after hearing the phrase “cold gun” shouted in preparation for the scene and that there should “never be live rounds whatsoever, near or around the scene.”
It also confirms, as previously reported, that several members of the camera crew had walked off the set earlier that day after complaining about housing and payment and that a new crew had to be found to help film the movie. Reid Russel, whom the warrant identifies as a cameraman who was standing next to Hutchins and Souza as the gun discharged, said that the crew wrote a letter to the production over the disagreements and that after stepping out for five minutes after returning from lunch, the team was already in possession of the firearm preparing for the scene. He was unsure if it had been checked again in that time.
Russel also said that no video or audio was being filmed of the moment and that it was only preparation for the scene, though police added that they were trying to confirm that nothing had been captured on tape.
As previously reported, Halls, the assistant director on “Rust,” had faced safety complaints over on-set weapons on another film from 2019. Halls has not responded to requests for comment.
The production on “Rust” is currently suspended “at least until the investigations” by police are complete.
The Santa Fe sheriff’s office said that the investigation remains “active” and “open” but also added that they will be holding a press conference with more details on Wednesday.
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