Gun In Baldwin 'Rust' Shooting Was Used In Off-Set Target Practice: Report

By Jason Hall

October 26, 2021

Photo: Getty Images

The live gun used by actor Alec Baldwin during an accidental fatal shooting on the set of the film Rust was also reportedly being fired off-set as well.

Multiple sources connected to the film told TMZ that some crew members shot the gun during target practice off the set prior to it being used in the accidental shooting that killed director of photography Halyna Hutchins, 42, and injured director Joel Souza, 48, last week.

TMZ reports the target practice incident occurred off-the-clock when crew members shot the gun with real bullets away from the movie lot, which is how some believe the live round was unknowingly in the chamber when Baldwin shot the gun during filming.

On Monday (October 25), CNN reported Baldwin was practicing drawing his gun when the accidental shooting occurred, according to an affidavit.

Souza told authorities Baldwin was "sitting in a pew in a church building setting, and he was practicing a cross draw," which is when a shooter pulls the weapon from a holster on the opposite side of the body from their draw hand, before Souza -- who was looking over Hutchins' shoulder at the time -- said he "heard what sounded like a whirp and then loud pop."

Souza said Hutchins was "complaining about her stomach and grabbing her midsection" after the accidental shot was fired on-set, according to the affidavit.

Camera operator Reid Russell, who was standing next to Souza and Hutchins during the shooting, also spoke to investigators and said Hutchins said "she couldn't feel her legs" and was teated by medics as she bled onto the floor.

Both Souza and Russell acknowledged difficulties on-set during the day of the shooting accident due to a walkout of some members of the camera over labor problems, limiting the crew to only one camera available, which was not recording at the time of the accidental shooting.

Souza also confirmed he heard the term "cold gun" falsely used to describe the weapon on-set.

Last Thursday, NBC News reported Hutchins was killed during the accidental shooting, while Souza was injured, the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office confirmed in a statement.

The union confirmed in the email to IndieWire that Souza was released from a local hospital after receiving treatment.

Baldwin addressed the accident in a statement obtained by TMZ last Friday morning.

"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 "I'm fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred. I am in touch with 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."

An eyewitness on the set of the Santa Fe film Rust told Showbiz 411 they heard a distraught Baldwin repeatedly say, “In all my years, I’ve never been handed a hot gun," meaning a gun with real ammunition.

Hutchins was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where she was pronounced dead.

The witness told Showbiz 411 that Baldwin, 63, was immediately taken to a hospital after the shooting and "had no idea how badly they were hurt or Halyna was dead."

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Baldwin was seen Thursday while speaking on the phone outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office.

"There was an accident today on the New Mexico set of 'Rust involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks," a spokesperson for Baldwin said in a statement obtained by NBC News on Thursday. "Production has been halted for the time being. The safety of our cast and crew remains our top priority."

No charges have been filed in relation to the shooting, but authorities confirmed it remains under an active investigation.

“We’re treating this as we would any other investigation,” Sheriff's Office spokesman Juan Rios said via NBC News, adding that deputies were still determining whether the shooting was accidental.

Baldwin is one of the film's stars and also serves as a producer.

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