The latest on the Alec Baldwin prop gun shooting

By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 8:36 PM ET, Mon October 25, 2021
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10:58 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

Veteran prop master says there "never" should be a live round on a set

Prop master Lucien Charles, who has worked on shows like "The Blacklist," "FBI: Most Wanted" and "Saturday Night Live," said that "negligence" allowed a live round to get into the gun on the set of Alec Baldwin's film, "Rust"

"That should never have happened. The guns are always checked or need to have checked and that should not have happened," Charles told CNN.

Charles said that there should "never" be a live round on set.

In terms of how movie sets handle having guns on the premises, Charles said "there's a lot of checks and balances."

"The prop master gets the gun from a vendor. If the armorer is involved, they'll get the gun and check it. When it's off set, there's a safety check, bring your crew around with the AD (assistant director), go over the gun with the actors and any crew members interested in seeing the gun. Then it's handled off from the prop master to the actor and that's where it ends right there."

10:12 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

Assistant director on "Rust" was subject of complaints dating back to 2019

From CNN’s Julia Vargas Jones

Dave Halls, the assistant director on the film set of “Rust,” was the subject of complaints over safety and his behavior on set during two productions in 2019, two people who worked closely with Halls tell CNN.

The complaints include a disregard for safety protocols for weapons and pyrotechnics use, fire lanes and exits were consistently blocked, and instances of inappropriately sexual behavior in the workplace.

In a statement to CNN, Maggie Goll, an IATSE Local 44 prop maker and licensed pyrotechnician, said that while working on Hulu’s “Into the Dark” anthology series in February and May 2019, Halls neglected to hold safety meetings and consistently failed to announce the presence of a firearm on set to the crew, as is protocol. 

“The only reason the crew was made aware of a weapon's presence was because the assistant prop master demanded Dave acknowledge and announce the situation each day,” Goll’s statement reads.

She added that the prop master would “announce each day when a gun would be required on camera, the disposition of that weapon - whether it was a rubber/plastic replica, a non-firing option, or a "cold" functional, but unloaded option, allowing anyone to inspect said weapon prior to bringing it to set and presenting it to the talent. (…) The Prop Master frequently admonished Dave for dismissing the talent without returning props, weapon included, or failing to make safety announcements.”

Goll’s statement also describes an instance where a licensed pyrotechnician had a medical emergency on set and Halls asked her to continue with the shoot. “I told him they are free to film whatever they want, but that there would be no fire or sparks, etc., until the medic, fire safety officer, and all of my crewmates were safely back on set,” Goll details. 

A crew member who also worked in the productions but requested to not be named for fear of retaliation corroborated Goll’s accounts, saying that when Halls did hold safety meetings, they were short and he was dismissive, saying the guns used would be the same as the production always uses, and questioning why they’d have to hold the meetings in the first place. 

The crew member also said Halls complained about having a gun “cleared” (inspected by a licensed professional on set, such as an armorer) for a scene where an actress would aim the gun to her own head and pull the trigger.

Goll and the other crew member told CNN of another instance where Halls insisted on continuing filming on location while a storm hit, where electrical lights were touching mud, wires were exposed to the rain, and crew members feared for their safety.

On the allegations of sexual misconduct, Goll said she did not file a complaint, but says that “on my first day back on the series, another crew member told me to "watch out" for Dave, saying he was too physically familiar with the crew, despite many rebuffs and complaints about unwanted and unnecessary touches. Nothing too extreme, but crew members of all genders and dispositions were being made uncomfortable by Dave's touches to their backs, waists, shoulders, etc.”

Goll said at the time she called a production safety line and complained internally to Blumhouse Productions executive producers in person. She also said she informed the Directors Guild of America (DGA) regarding unsafe persons. “To my knowledge nothing was done after my complaints,” her statement reads. 

Halls did not respond to CNN’s request for comment Saturday night about Goll’s allegations against him.

9:38 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

Gun experts raise questions over how "Rust" shooting occurred

From CNN's Julia Jones

This aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Saturday, October 23.
This aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Saturday, October 23. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

Authorities issued a search warrant for the property where the movie "Rust" was being filmed and will be carefully combing it over the weekend, Santa Fe County Sheriff’s spokesperson Juan Rios told CNN. 

The film's director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, died and and director Joel Souza was injured after actor Alec Baldwin discharged a prop firearm on the set of the movie on Thursday.

The shooting has raised critical questions from gun experts looking into how the tragic incident occurred.

"There's no reason to have had a firearm that was capable of discharging live ammo on the set," Steve Wolf, a firearms safety expert, told CNN on Saturday. "A prop gun is a gun that's been specifically manufactured for shooting blanks, not bullets. In fact, the bullets won't fit into a gun that's been modified properly, only blanks will fit into it.

"And that's a safeguard to ensure that live ammo is not loaded into guns that are used on set. So if you don't use the right type of gun, you're not going to get the safety benefit that's been engineered into it," Wolf said.

Before the shooting, some crew members quit over safety concerns on set – including gun inspections and Covid-19 protocols not being followed, according to the Los Angeles Times and other media reports.

Three crew members who were on the set last weekend told the Los Angeles Times there were two accidental prop gun discharges before Thursday's fatal shooting. On Oct. 16, Baldwin's stunt double unintentionally fired rounds after he was told the gun was "cold," two of the crew members, who witnessed the discharges, told the newspaper.

The film's production company told Deadline in a statement that it was not notified of official complaints regarding weapon or prop safety on set.

"We will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down," Rust Movie Productions, LLC said in a statement. "The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company."

CNN has made multiple attempts to reach Rust Movie Productions for comment but has not received a response.

9:21 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

Hollywood has a history of on-set accidents. Here's a look back at some of them.

From CNN's Lisa Respers France

Vic Morrow, Brandon Lee and Jon-Erik Hexum.
Vic Morrow, Brandon Lee and Jon-Erik Hexum. (Getty Images)

Hollywood is the land of make-believe, but the very real specter of death can hover over television and movie sets.

The death of 42-year-old director of photography Halyna Hutchins while working on the movie "Rust" in New Mexico after actor Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun is just the latest on-set tragedy.

There have been multiple other cases of deaths of cast and crew from accidents during production, including:

Brandon Lee

In 1993, Brandon Lee was filming the final scenes of the movie "The Crow" when he died after being shot with a prop gun.

Actor Michael Massee fired at Lee during a scene with a gun that was later found to have been be improperly loaded. Dummy bullets had been replaced with cardboard wadding, but a portion from one of the dummy bullets had broken off and remained in the gun.

That metal tip from the dummy bullet hit Lee's abdomen. The son of the renowned martial-arts master and actor Bruce Lee was 28.

Jon-Erik Hexum

Hexum was cast to play Mac Harper, a CIA operative posing as a male model in the TV series "Cover Up."

While filming in 1984, Hexum reportedly was playing around with a prop gun from a scene and shot himself in the head.

The blank drove a piece of his skull into his brain, and he was taken off of life support a week later.

Vic Morrow

The actor and two child actors were being filmed fleeing from a village during the Vietnam War while a US Army helicopter hovered over them in 1982's "Twilight Zone: The Movie."

The copter crashed following a pyrotechnic explosion, landing on Morrow, 53, and the children, who were killed.

Director John Landis, the pilot and three others were charged with involuntary manslaughter. They were all acquitted following a high-profile trial that lasted almost nine months.

Read more here.

9:11 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

GoFundMe account for Halyna Hutchins surpasses $200,000

From CNN’s Keith Allen

Halyna Hutchins attends the SAGindie Sundance Filmmakers Reception in Park City, Utah, in 2019. 
Halyna Hutchins attends the SAGindie Sundance Filmmakers Reception in Park City, Utah, in 2019.  (Fred Hayes/Getty Images)

The online fundraising page established for Halyna Hutchins’ family has raised more than $200,000.

The verified GoFundMe page was created by the International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 one day after Hutchins was killed on a New Mexico movie set when she was struck by a live round from a prop gun fired by actor Alec Baldwin.

“Local 600 mourns the passing of Halyna Hutchins, a Director of Photography who died from injuries sustained on the set of “Rust” in New Mexico, on Thursday, October 21. Halyna is survived by her husband, Matthew, and her 9-year-old son. In memory of Halyna, Local 600 has set up this GoFundMe page to help raise funds for her family at this difficult time,” the union says in a statement posted on the page.

The page vaulted well past its initial fundraising goal of $10,000 and is now over $200,000.

9:02 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

"Rust" cast member remembers Halyna Hutchins as "an inspiration"

From CNN’s Keith Allen and Sandra Gonzalez

Actor Jensen Ackles, listed as a "Rust" cast member on the entertainment website IMDb, posted a message on his verified Instagram account Sunday, remembering Halyna Hutchins.

“I’m not even sure where to start. This has been a tragedy of epic proportions that we are all still processing,” Ackles writes.

“Earlier last week I felt compelled to tell Halyna just how awesome I thought she was. I told her how incredible I thought her camera shots were and just how exciting it was to watch her and her team work. Truly. She laughed and said ‘thank you’ and gave me a hug. I’ll forever be thankful we had that moment.  She had a spunk and passion that infected the entire crew from the top down,” the actor says in the Instagram post Sunday evening.

“She was an inspiration,” Ackles continues.

“My heart and prayers go out to Halyna’s husband, son and the rest of her family. There just aren’t enough words to express what an immense loss this is. She will be incredibly missed by all of us who knew and admired her,” Ackles adds.

 

8:49 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

Baldwin's clothes appeared to have blood stains after the shooting, according to an affidavit

From CNN’s Keith Allen and Claudia Dominguez

The “Old Western style” clothes that actor Alec Baldwin was wearing at the time of Thursday’s fatal shooting appeared to have blood stains on them, according to the affidavit issued by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office and obtained by CNN affiliate KOAT.

Baldwin’s clothing from the movie set was among the items turned over to authorities after the incident, according to the affidavit.

9:17 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

Halyna Hutchins' husband calls her loss "enormous"

From CNN's Aya Elamroussi, Lucy Kafanov and Claudia Dominguez

Halyna Hutchins works on the set of "Archenemy" in 2019, in Los Angeles.
Halyna Hutchins works on the set of "Archenemy" in 2019, in Los Angeles. (Jack Caswell via AP)

Family, peers and community members of Halyna Hutchins mourned the cinematographer's untimely death after the 42-year-old was killed on the film set of "Rust" from a firearm mishap.

Her husband Matthew Hutchins tweeted Friday that the loss was "enormous."

"Halyna inspired us all with her passion and vision, and her legacy is too meaningful to encapsulate in words," he tweeted. "Our loss is enormous, and we ask that the media please respect my family's privacy as we process our grief. We thank everyone for sharing images and stories of her life."

In addition, her sister offered words of grief in an interview with the Kyiv Post on Friday.

"I cannot comprehend (her passing)," said Svetlana Androsovych, who currently lives in Indonesia. "I loved her very much ... I was very proud of her and she was my role model. We were always close and remained in touch, despite the distance."

"This loss is a great grief for our family, and I see how hard it is for our parents," she added. "Hopefully, time will ease our heartache."

CNN has reached out to Androsovych but not yet heard back.

The comments add to the fond memories of Hutchins, who was killed when actor and producer Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun on a film set Thursday in New Mexico.

A candlelight vigil for Hutchins brought out hundreds of mourners Saturday evening in the state.

"I would've been lucky to do another movie with a person like that," said Lane Looper, a crew member on the "Rust" film set. "She was a wonderful mom and wife and was just a wonderful soul, and I really hope more people like her exist."

The shooting occurred as the film crew was rehearsing a scene at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico. The film's assistant director, David Halls, handed a prop gun to Baldwin and yelled "cold gun," a remark meant to indicate the weapon didn't have live rounds, according to an affidavit for a search warrant for the movie set filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office and obtained by CNN affiliate KOAT.

According to the affidavit, Baldwin was handed one of three prop guns that were set up in a cart by an armorer for the movie. Halls did not know there were live rounds in the gun, the affidavit said.

When Baldwin fired the gun, a live round hit Hutchins, 42, in the chest and wounded director Joel Souza, 48, who was nearby, according to the affidavit. Hutchins was pronounced dead at the hospital after being airlifted.

10:00 a.m. ET, October 25, 2021

Alec Baldwin was "practicing a cross draw" when his weapon was fired, film director says

From CNN's Andy Rose and Susannah Cullinane

The shot that killed a cinematographer on a New Mexico film set last week was fired as actor Alec Baldwin was practicing drawing his gun, according to the director who was injured in the shooting, court documents show.

Joel Souza, director of the film "Rust," was shot in the shoulder and director of photography Halyna Hutchins, 42, was killed when the prop gun went off during a rehearsal at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe Thursday.

Souza spoke to investigators Friday, according to an affidavit for a search warrant released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office on Sunday.

Souza told them Baldwin was "sitting in a pew in a church building setting, and he was practicing a cross draw," the affidavit said. A cross draw is when a shooter pulls the weapon from a holster on the opposite side of the body from the draw hand. 

Souza was looking over Hutchins' shoulder "when he heard what sounded like a whip and then loud pop," according to the affidavit.

Souza recalled Hutchins "complaining about her stomach and grabbing her midsection" after the shot was fired, the document said. 

Investigators also talked with camera operator Reid Russell, who was standing next to Souza and Hutchins at the time of the incident, the affidavit said.

Russell recalled Hutchins "saying she couldn't feel her legs" and medics treating her as she was bleeding on the floor, investigators said.

Both Souza and Russell acknowledged difficulties on set that day because of a walkout of some members of the camera department over payment and housing. Due to the labor problems, Souza said they had only one camera available to use that day, and it was not recording at the time of the incident.

Souza also confirmed to an investigator that he heard the term "cold gun" on set, meaning the firearm should have been empty. 

According to the warrant, Souza said three people had been handling the guns or firearms for scenes – they were checked by the armorer and first assistant director and then given to the actor using them.

The investigator said Souza was unaware of anyone on set being checked to see if they had live ammunition on them before or after the scenes were filmed.

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

Souza's representatives have not returned CNN's requests for comment.      

According to the affidavit, Russell told investigators Baldwin was "trying to explain how he was going to draw out the firearm and where his arm would be at when the firearm was pulled from the holster."

Russell "was not sure why the firearm was discharged and just remembered the loud bang from the firearm," the affidavit says.

When asked how Baldwin handled the firearm, Russell told investigators the actor "had been very careful" and recalled an earlier instance when Baldwin "made sure it was safe and that a child wasn't near him when they were discharging a firearm during that scene."

The search warrant sought to recover any footage, video cameras, computer equipment and memory cards used by cameras on the set. 

No charges have been filed in the incident. The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office says it will discuss the case further in a news conference Wednesday.