A sign leads to the movie 'Rust' set
What Is A Prop Gun And How Did It Lead To Alec Baldwin Fatally Shooting Halyna Hutchins? Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

The gunshot that resulted in the accidental death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fired as actor Alec Baldwin was practicing a “cross draw” that required pointing his weapon at the camera. An affidavit for a search warrant released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office on Friday stated that the film’s director Joel Souza, who was shot in the shoulder during the mishap, told investigators that Baldwin was sitting on a church pew setting while he was practicing his draw.

A “cross draw” is done by pulling the weapon from its holster on the opposite side of the body by the drawing hand.

According to NBC New York, investigators who spoke with the "Rust" cameraman Reid Russell said he was unsure if the weapon was checked before it was handed over to Baldwin. Souza said all the weapons used in the scenes were handled and checked by the armorer and the first assistant director before it was handed to the actor.

The camera was not rolling at the time the gun went off. But Souza said he was looking over Hutchins’ shoulder when he heard a sound similar to a cracking whip followed by a loud pop. Next thing Souza said he remembered was Hutchins complaining of pain in her stomach as she was grabbing her midsection after the gun went off. While medics were treating her as she bled on the floor, Russell recalled Hutchins saying she couldn’t feel her legs.

The affidavit also stated that Souza heard the term “cold gun” announced by the assistant director, Dave Halls, who then handed the weapon to Baldwin. This indicates that the firearm is safe to use on the set. Investigators said Souza was not aware if any of the actors checked before filming a scene to see if the weapon they were using had live ammunition.

"The only thing checked are the firearms to avoid live ammunition being in them. Souza stated there should never be live rounds whatsoever near or around the scene," the affidavit said.

Russell said Baldwin was very careful handling the gun, even citing how he had made sure a child actor was not anywhere near him when the scene called for the weapon to be fired. Baldwin was said to have been handed one of three prop guns taken from a cart that was set up by an armorer. Halls was not aware there were live rounds in the gun he had given the actor, the affidavit said.

The affidavit noted that Halls had been the subject of complaints on the set for his behavior as well as safety concerns. Maggie Goll, an IATSE Local 44 prop maker said in her statement that in 2019, she had filed an internal complaint with the executive producers of Hulu series “Into the Dark” concerning Hall’s behavior on the set and his disregard for safety protocols handling pyrotechnics and weapons.

Investigators are still working on the exact timeline around the handling of the gun before it was used by Baldwin in the scene.

Meanwhile, in an emotional Facebook post Sunday, the film’s chief electrician Serge Svetnoy pointed fingers at the producers of "Rust" for the death of Hutchins. He said the producers hired an inexperienced armorer and cited negligence and unprofessionalism.

A search warrant was handed to Hannah Gutierrez, the armorer who prepared the prop gun used by Baldwin. In her podcast last September, she said she had just recently finished work on her first project as head armorer.

Halyna Hutchins
Halyna Hutchins attends the SAGindie Sundance Filmmakers Reception at Cafe Terigo on January 28, 2019 in Park City, Utah. Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie

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