Video shows Alec Baldwin rehearsing with gun before fatal 'Rust' shooting
SANTA FE, N.M. - New movie set footage released this week shows Alec Baldwin rehearsing with a gun on the set of "Rust" just before the fatal shooting of the film’s cinematographer last October.
Footage from the Western movie, which was being filmed on a ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico, was among the video evidence shared publicly on Monday by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office.
The rehearsal clips show Baldwin in costume sitting inside a small church as he practices a quick-draw maneuver with a gun. The shooting, which occurred on Oct. 21, 2021, happened while the film crew was inside the church during setup for filming a scene.
Investigators said Baldwin was later pointing a gun at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins when it went off, killing Hutchins and wounding the director, Joel Souza.
Other video evidence released by the sheriff’s office included lapel camera recordings taken by a commanding officer as he arrived at the film set ranch where medics were attending to the wounded, with an evacuation helicopter whirring overhead.
A screengrab from rehearsal footage shows actor Alec Baldwin on the set of “Rust” practicing with a gun prior to the fatal Oct. 21, 2021, shooting near Santa Fe, New Mexico. (Credit: Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office)
A search for the gun led to Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who can be heard telling authorities that she was the film's armorer, before adding: "Or at least I was."
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Other videos show investigators as they debriefed Baldwin within hours of the fatal shooting, talking with him inside a compact office. Under questioning by two investigators, Baldwin can be heard piecing together what happened as the gun went off, still apparently unaware that Hutchins would die and shocked to learn that he had been holding a gun loaded with live ammunition. Baldwin said the gun should have been empty for a rehearsal with no filming.
"I take the gun out slowly. I turn, I cock the pistol," Baldwin says. "Bang, it goes off. She (Hutchins) hits the ground. She goes down. He (Souza) goes down screaming."
Souza also recounted his experience in a hospital emergency room, where he was treated for a bullet wound and questioned by investigators. The film director described "a very loud bang, and then it felt like someone kicked me in the shoulder." He knew Hutchins was wounded too and asked if she was OK.
In the Oct. 21 video, Baldwin repeatedly said there were no prior problems of any kind with firearms on the set of "Rust."
But those statements conflict with more recent findings by state occupational safety regulators, who last week issued the maximum possible fine of nearly $137,000 against the "Rust" film production company.
New Mexico’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau said Rust Movie Productions must pay $136,793, and distributed a scathing narrative of safety failures in violation of standard industry protocols, including testimony that production managers took limited or no action to address two misfires on the set prior to the fatal shooting.
The bureau also documented gun safety complaints from crew members that went unheeded and said weapons specialists were not allowed to make decisions about additional safety training. Rust Movie Productions has indicated it will dispute the findings and sanction.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said in a statement that the investigation by his agency remains open and ongoing as it awaits the results of ballistics and forensic analysis from the FBI as well as studies of fingerprint and DNA.
"The sheriff’s office is releasing all files associated with our ongoing investigation," Mendoza said in the statement on Monday. Those files also include photos of ammunition from the set and examination reports.
Baldwin said in a December interview with ABC News that he was on set pointing the gun at Hutchins at her instruction when it went off without his pulling the trigger.
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This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.