Alec Baldwin describes how ‘Rust’ gun fired without pulling trigger

December 3, 2021
Alec Baldwin, left, sat down for an interview with "Good Morning America" co-anchor George Stephanopoulos about the fatal shooting on the set of Baldwin's film "Rust."
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Alec Baldwin said he cocked the gun but “didn’t pull the trigger” in his first sit-down interview since the fatal shooting on the set of the movie “Rust” that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza. 

“I’m holding the gun where she told me to hold it,” Baldwin told George Stephanopoulos in an ABC special that aired Thursday night and will stream afterward on Hulu. “In the scene (being rehearsed) I would have cocked the gun, and I said, ‘Do you want to see that? And she said yes. So I take the gun and I sort of cock the gun, I’m not going to pull the trigger.”

Hutchins told him to “tilt it down a little bit,” he said. “I cock the gun and I go, ‘Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?’ And I let go of the hammer of the gun and the gun goes off.”

The trigger and where the live ammunition came from were among the major topics in the emotional hour-long discussion.

“I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them. Never,” Baldwin said after Stephanopoulos noted the “gun was in your hand.”

“Someone put a live bullet in a gun – a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property,” he said. 

‘Rust’ investigation:Affidavit reveals new details about source of live ammunition in Alec Baldwin’s gun

Alec Baldwin gives his account of shooting

Baldwin walked Stephanopoulos through the marking rehearsal that ended in Hutchins and Souza getting shot.

“The scene is two guys are there who have got me cornered, and they think I’ve been shot pretty bad … and I draw the gun out,” Baldwin explained.

According to Baldwin, assistant director Dave Halls handed him the gun and said it was a “cold gun,” meaning it did not contain live rounds.

“When he’s saying that … he says everybody can relax,” Baldwin added.

During the rehearsal, Hutchins instructed Baldwin where to point the gun, the actor said, and guided him to aim it “right below her armpit.” Then “the gun goes off.”

“Everyone is horrified,” he said. “They’re shocked. It’s loud. The gun was supposed to be empty. I was told I was handed an empty gun.”

Baldwin said “the notion that there was a live round in that gun didn’t dawn on me until 45 minutes to an hour later.”

After the shooting, a helicopter transported Hutchins, 42, to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel, according to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. Souza was transported via ambulance to Christus St. Vincent’s hospital and was later released.

Baldwin mourns Halyna Hutchins, weighs in on Hannah Gutierrez-Reed as armorer 

Breaking down in tears, Baldwin said Halyna Hutchins was “loved and admired by everybody who worked with her.”

“She had that intensity every day you went to work,” he said. “She (always said,) ‘Good morning. How are you?’ “

Baldwin, also a producer on the film, was asked by Stephanopoulos if he thought Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was fit for the job of set armorer. Because “she was there and she was hired,” Baldwin said he assumed she “was good for the job.”

He also weighed in on reports of crew members walking off the set of “Rust” hours prior to the shooting in protest of working conditions: “No, I never heard one word about that,” he said, noting that he was asked about getting a better hotel for crew members.

‘Rust’ legal fallout continues

It is unclear when the interview was conducted, as new information continues to be unveiled in the deadly incident. On Tuesday, an affidavit released with a search warrant revealed new details about how live ammunition may have ended up alongside dummy rounds.

According to a previous affidavit released by investigators, dated Oct. 27, “the prop-gun was fired by the Actor Alec Baldwin” during rehearsals, striking Hutchins and Souza.

Baldwin, 63, has been named in multiple lawsuits for his involvement in the tragedy. One complaint filed Nov. 17 alleges that Baldwin recklessly fired a gun when it wasn’t called for in the script.

“There was nothing in the script about the gun being discharged by DEFENDANT BALDWIN or by any other person,” a lawsuit filed by script supervisor Mamie Mitchell says.

Another lawsuit filed Nov. 10 in Los Angeles on behalf of Serge Svetnoy alleges general negligence against Baldwin, Halls, Gutierrez-Reed, Rust Movie Productions and other companies and individuals involved with the film. Svetnoy is described as a chief lighting technician on the film and a close friend of Hutchins.

According to the complaint, Svetnoy was present during the incident, which the complaint says “will haunt (Svetnoy) forever.”

Hutchins’ husband Matthew Hutchins has retained legal counsel from Los Angeles-based Panish Shea Boyle Ravipudi LLP, the law firm’s representative Jaclyn Vazquez confirmed to USA TODAY. 

Halyna Hutchins was named a “rising star” by American Cinematographer in 2019. Born in Ukraine, she previously served as director of cinematography for the 2020 action film “Archenemy,” starring Joe Manganiello, who paid tribute to the “absolutely incredible talent.” She and Matthew Hutchins shared a son.

ABC will also air a two-hour special of “20/20” next week examining the investigation into the shooting.

Contributing: Amy Haneline, Hannah Yasharoff, Jenna Ryu and Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, and The Associated Press

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