Santa Fe, NM – Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin insists he “didn’t pull the trigger” of the gun he was holding when it discharged and fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the “Rust” film in October.
Baldwin discussed the incident during an ABC News interview with George Stephanopoulos, which is set to air Thursday night.
“The trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger,” Baldwin said during the sit down. “I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them. Never.”
The actor said he has “no idea” how the fatal incident occurred.
“Someone put a live bullet in a gun. A bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property,” he told Stephanopoulos.
Baldwin, co-producer and star of the film, said his connection to the death of Hutchins, 42, and the wounding of director Joel Souza is the worst thing that’s ever happened to him.
“I think back and I think of what could I have done?” he said. “She was someone who was loved by everyone who worked with and liked by everyone who worked with and admired…I mean, even now, I find it hard to believe…It doesn’t seem real to me.”
EXCLUSIVE: "The trigger wasn't pulled. I didn't pull the trigger," Alec Baldwin tells @GStephanopoulos in first interview since fatal shooting on set of "Rust."
— ABC News (@ABC) December 1, 2021
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office (SFCSO) executed a search warrant Tuesday at the property of PDQ Arm and Prop LLC, a prop house in Albuquerque, ABC News reported.
The business’s owner, Seth Kenney, told investigators he’d been hired by the “Rust” team to supply them with firearms, as well as with Starline Brass blanks and dummy rounds, according to the warrant affidavit.
In the months of August and September, Kenney was working on another movie set with Hollywood armorer Thell Reed.
Reed is the father of “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, ABC News reported.
While they were working on the separate production, Kenney asked Reed to bring out live ammunition to an actor training session at the firearms range just “in case they ran out of what was supplied,” the affidavit read.
Reed said he brought a can of 200 to 300 rounds of live, handloaded ammunition out the range, according to investigators.
Reed told police that once the production wrapped up, Kenney allegedly took the container of remaining live ammunition back to New Mexico with him, telling Reed to “write it off,” ABC News reported.
According to the affidavit, Reed told investigators that was the reason why ammunition in his possession could match the rounds recovered from the set of “Rust.”
Kenney’s attorney, Adam Engelskirchen, adamantly denied allegations Kenney brought any live ammunition to the “Rust” production, ABC News reported.
Engelskirchen said the affidavit for the search warrant “includes material misstatements of fact, particularly with regard to statements ascribed to Mr. Kenney.”
“Reports in other media outlets that Mr. Kenney was part of the crew of Rust or was employed by the production to provide any sort of supervisory services are patently false,” the attorney declared.
“Mr. Kenney is fully-cooperating with the authorities, as he has been since the tragic incident took place,” Engelskirchen said in a statement to ABC News. “Neither Mr. Kenney nor PDQ Arm & Prop, LLC provided live ammunition to the Rust production.”
It is unknown if anything was seized from the prop company when the warrant was executed on Tuesday.
Jason Bowles, the attorney representing Gutierrez-Reed, praised the search, calling it “a huge step forward…to unearth the full truth of who put the live rounds on the Rust set.”
“We trust that the FBI will now compare and analyze the ‘live rounds’ seized from the set to evidence seized in the search warrant to conclusively determine where the live rounds came from,” Bowles said in a statement to ABC News.
“The questions of who introduced the live rounds onto the set and why are the central questions in the case,” he added.
Although film industry experts have insisted no live rounds should ever be present on a production set, investigators seized a mixture of live rounds, dummy rounds and blanks from the set of “Rust,” locating about 500 rounds of ammunition total, ABC News reported.
No one has been charged in connection with the incident so far.
Hutchins and Souza were shot on Oct. 21 after the film’s assistant director, Dave Halls, handed Baldwin a Colt .45 revolver and told him it was a “cold gun,” according to court documents.
The term “cold gun” is supposed to be used when referring to a firearm not containing any live ammunition, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office (SFCSO) said in an application for a warrant to search the film set, according to CNN.
The gun Halls gave to Baldwin was one of three firearms the movie’s armorer, Gutierrez-Reed, had placed in a cart for use in the movie, CNN reported.
Baldwin was practicing with the gun when the deadly shooting occurred, NBC News reported.
“Joel [Souza] stated they had Alec sitting in a pew in a church building setting, and he was practicing a cross draw,” the affidavit read. “Joel said he was looking over the shoulder of Halayna, when he heard what sounded like a whip and then loud pop.”
According to the warrant, Souza said Hutchins immediately began “complaining about her stomach and grabbing her midsection,” NBC News reported.
“Joel also said Halayna began to stumble backwards and she was assisted to the ground,” investigators said in the filing. “Joel explained that he was bleeding from his shoulder and he could see blood on Halayna.”
Hutchins, 42, had been shot in the chest, and Souza, 48, was shot in his right shoulder, according to court documents.
Hutchins was rushed to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where she succumbed to her wounds, the SFCSO confirmed.
She leaves behind her husband and her nine-year-old son, CNN reported.
Souza was transported to St. Vincent Medical Center and survived his injury.
Crew members allegedly walked out due to concerns about the lack of safety on the set shortly before the shooting occurred.
Bowles said during an interview with NBC News on Nov. 3 it is possible that someone wanted “to sabotage the set” in order “to prove a point” that they were “disgruntled” and “unhappy.”
That person could have placed one or more live rounds into the box of blanks, he suggested.
Gutierrez-Reed was both the armorer and the assistant prop master for the film.
She said she left the weapon unsupervised for two hours while she went on a lunch break and performed her props assistant duties, NBC News reported.
“Hannah was hired on two positions on this film, which made it extremely difficult to focus on her job as an armorer,” her attorneys said in a recent statement. “She fought for training, days to maintain weapons and proper time to prepare for gunfire but ultimately was overruled by production and her department. The whole production set became unsafe due to various factors, including lack of safety meetings.”
Veteran prop master Neal Zoromski told Today during an interview that he previously turned down a job offer to work on Baldwin’s “Rust” feature because he “felt it was completely unsafe.”
Zoromski said he was particularly concerned by the fact that producers combined the jobs of the armorer and the assistant prop master into a single position for the movie.
“I impressed upon them that there were great concerns about that, and they didn’t really respond to my concerns about that,” he told Today.
But according to NBC News, sources within the production said it is not unusual for an armorer to also serve as a member of a prop team.
They further noted Gutierrez-Reed was never asked to handle weapon and prop duties on the same day, and said she only worked in props for two days, NBC News reported.
The incident remains under investigation, and no charges have been filed.