Before Alec Baldwin pushed the trigger of a prop firearm that killed a woman and seriously injured a man on a New Mexico film set, the employee who handed him that weapon reportedly yelled “cold gun,” KOAT-TV reports.
Yelling “cold gun” is usually intended to indicate that a firearm does not have live rounds, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the television station.
However, when Baldwin fired the gun on Thursday, something in the gun fatally struck 42-year-old cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in the chest and wounded 48-year-old director Joel Souza in the shoulder.
What exactly hit Hutchins and Souza remains unclear, but multiple agencies are investigating.
Assistant Director David Halls was the employee who provided the weapon to Baldwin and did not know there were live rounds in the gun, the court records state, according to the television station. Halls had reportedly selected one of three prop guns that had been arranged on a cart by an armorer.
As authorities investigate the incident, the Los Angeles Times reports that multiple staff members had quit the film before the shooting because of safety concerns related to gun protocols allegedly not being followed.
Three members of the crew told the newspaper that there had been at least two accidental prop gun discharges before Thursday’s shooting.
Baldwin’s stunt double had reportedly fired what he was told were “cold” guns, the LA Times reports, although the production company making the film told Deadline that it had not been told of any such complaints or incidents on the set but that it would be launching a probe.
“We will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down,” Rust Movie Productions, LLC told Deadline. “The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company.”
This is not the first accidental shooting on a movie set. The actor Brandon Lee was killed while filming the movie “The Crow” in 1993. And in 1984, the actor John-Eric Hexum died after he put a prop gun up to his head and pulled the trigger. The gun had blank ammunition, but even without projectiles, guns can still be dangerous at a close range because of gunpowder and gas, according to CNN.
In a tweet on Friday, Baldwin said he is cooperating with investigators.
“There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours,” Baldwin said in the tweet.
“I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”
Police have seized all firearms, ammunition, cameras, and clothes worn by actors at the time of the shooting. The New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau is investigating in addition to local law enforcement.
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Feature Photo: FILE – In this Sept. 21, 2015 file photo, actor Alec Baldwin attends a news conference at United Nations headquarters. A prop firearm discharged by veteran actor Alec Baldwin, who is starring and producing a Western movie, killed his director of photography and injured the director Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021 at the movie set outside Santa Fe, N.M., the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office said. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)