Alec Baldwin told gun was safe before shooting, court documents show

Police investigate incident on Rust film set in which cinematographer was killed

Hollywood star Alec Baldwin has said "my heart is broken" after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died when he fired a prop gun on a New Mexico movie set, adding that he was cooperating with the police investigation.

 

An assistant director unwittingly handed Alec Baldwin a loaded weapon and told him it was safe to use in the moments before the actor fatally shot a cinematographer, according to court documents.

“Cold gun,” the assistant director announced, according to a search warrant filed in a Santa Fe, New Mexico court.

Instead, the gun was loaded with live rounds. When Mr Baldwin pulled the trigger on Thursday on the set of a Western film, he killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her, was wounded, the records said.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office obtained the warrant so investigators could document the scene at the ranch outside Santa Fe where the shooting took place.

They sought Mr Baldwin’s blood-stained costume for the film Rust as evidence, as well as the weapon that was fired, other prop guns and ammunition, and any footage that might exist.

The gun was one of three that the film’s armourer, Hannah Gutierrez, had set on a cart outside the wooden structure where a scene was being acted, according to the records.

Assistant director Dave Halls grabbed the gun from the cart and brought it inside to Mr Baldwin while unaware that it was loaded with live rounds, a detective wrote in the search warrant application.

It was unclear how many rounds were fired.

On Saturday, following his release from hospital, Souza said he was “gutted” by Hutchins’s death.

“I am gutted by the loss of my friend and colleague, Halyna. She was kind, vibrant, incredibly talented, fought for every inch and always pushed me to be better,” Souza said in a statement.

Souza did not give details of the accident or his injuries but said he was “humbled and grateful by the outpouring of affection we have received from our filmmaking community, the people of Santa Fe, and the hundreds of strangers who have reached out”.

The International Cinematographers Guild planned to hold a candlelight vigil for Hutchins (42) on Saturday evening in Albuquerque, about 65km from the ranch. A second vigil was scheduled for Sunday in the Los Angeles area.

“Halyna inspired us all with her passion and vision, and her legacy is too meaningful to encapsulate in words. Our loss is enormous,” her husband Matt Hutchins wrote on Twitter.

The American Film Institute set up a scholarship fund for female cinematographers in Hutchins’s honour. – AP/Reuters