November 29, 2021

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Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins Filmed Her Own Death As Alec Baldwin Accidentally Shot Her

4 min read
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins Filmed Her Own Death As Alec Baldwin Accidentally Shot Her

The movie, set in 1880’s Kansas, stars Alec Baldwin as the outlaw Harland Rust, whose grandson is sentenced to hang for an accidental murder.

A search warrant released on Friday said that armorer Hannah Gutierrez laid out three prop guns on a cart outside the filming location of ‘Rust.’ First assistant director Dave Halls then grabbed a gun from the cart and brought it inside to Alec Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds. 

‘Cold gun!’ shouted Dave Halls before handing the gun to Baldwin, that phrase is common in Hollywood to signal to cast and crew that the gun was safe to fire for the scene.

Assistant director Dave Halls grabbed the gun from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds
Assistant director Dave Halls

Seconds later, filming a scene inside an Old West-style church, Alec Baldwin aimed the gun towards the camera and pulled the trigger.

A single bullet struck Hutchins in the chest, and then struck director Joel Souza in the shoulder as he was standing behind her, injuring him, suggesting the bullet traveled all the way through Hutchins’ body killing her.

An inconsolable Alec Baldwin is shown, left, yesterday outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office after accidentally shooting and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, right. They were among few original workers on set after others walked off earlier in the day in a union row
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

After the shooting, the armorer took possession of the gun and a spent casing, which was turned over to police, along with other prop guns and ammunition used on the set. 

Baldwin also changed out of the Western costume he was wearing, which was stained with blood, and turned it over to the police.

The warrant does not reveal the model or caliber of the prop gun that fired the fatal bullet, but the film is set in the Old West of the 1880s and we have learned it was a vintage-style Colt revolver.

A call sheet from the set identified the armorer’s name as Hannah Gutierrez Reed, according to the Wall Street Journal. Gutierrez-Reed, 24, is the daughter of legendary Hollywood armorer and firearms consultant Thell Reed, who trained her from a young age, she said in a recent podcast interview.  

Armorer Hannah Gutierrez, 24, is the daughter of legendary armorer and firearms consultant Thell Reed, who trained her from a young age
Armorer Hannah Gutierrez 

She said in the podcast that she had recently completed her first film as head armorer on The Old Way, starring Nicolas Cage. ‘I almost didn’t take the job because I wasn’t sure if I was ready, but doing it, it went really smoothly,’ she said in the interview last month.

Halls is a veteran assistant director with scores of credits on productions involving prop guns, including Fargo, The Matrix Reloaded, and the TV cop comedy Reno 911. 

In 2000, Halls was the second unit’s first assistant director on The Crow: Salvation, the sequel to the film in which Bruce Lee’s son Brandon Lee was killed in an on-set firearms mishap in 1993. 

Walk off occurred hours before shooting

Unionized workers had walked off the set hours before the fatal shooting after they complained about long hours, shoddy conditions and another safety incident days earlier involving ‘two misfires’ of a prop weapon. 

A yet-unnamed prop master who oversaw the gun used in the fatal shooting was a non-union worker who was ‘just brought in’ to replace the workers who left over safety concerns, a source involved in the movie told the New York Post.

It’s unclear whether Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer, had recently joined the production, or was one of the crew members who stayed behind after the walk-off. 

However, a link in her Instagram bio points to an article about Rust from May, suggesting she had been attached to the production for some time. 

Unionized employees had been complaining about the fact they had to stay overnight in Albuquerque – an hour’s drive from the set – and not Sante Fe because production wouldn’t pay for their hotels, according to sources cited by The Los Angeles Times and multiple social media posts by film and TV insiders. 

When they turned up to set to clear their things on Thursday, they found they’d been replaced by locals. 

It begs the question of who those local workers were, what their training was and to what extent did they check the weapon before it was handed to Baldwin.  

Deadline also cites an unnamed source who said a gun had gone off ‘in a cabin’ while someone was holding it, days prior to the shooting that killed Hutchins.

‘A gun had two misfires in a closed cabin. They just fired loud pops – a person was just holding it in their hands and it went off,’ they said, apparently referring to unintentional discharges.   

Members of the union that represents many of the crew who were involved in the production said they had expressed fears about on-set safety. 

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