LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Actor Alec Baldwin claims he did not pull the trigger on the gun that was used to kill cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the movie “Rust.”
“Well the trigger wasn’t pulled, I didn’t pull the trigger,” Baldwin told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos from a clip of an interview that will run in full Thursday.
“I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger, never,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin also alleges he has “no idea” how the live bullet got on the set.
“Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t supposed to be on the property,” Baldwin said.
On the afternoon of Oct. 21, on the set of the Western “Rust” just outside Santa Fe, a single live round from a Pietta Colt .45 revolver fired by Baldwin struck and killed 42-year-old cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, and wounded the film’s director, 48-year-old Joel Souza.
The 63-year-old Baldwin was inside a church building, sitting on a wooden pew, rehearsing unholstering his prop gun and pointing it at the camera when he fired it, according to a search warrant filed by Santa Fe County Sheriff’s investigators. Hutchins was hit in the chest and Souza in the shoulder.
The firearm, which authorities confirmed was loaded with a live round, was “handled and/or inspected” by the film’s armor, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, and assistant director Dave Halls, prior to it being fired by Baldwin, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said.
The gun was only supposed to be loaded with dummy rounds. According to the search warrant filed by sheriff’s investigators, Halls had handed Baldwin the prop gun and yelled that it was a “cold gun,” meaning it was not loaded with live ammunition.
A total of about 500 rounds of ammunition were seized by investigators from the “Rust” movie set following the shooting. They included blanks, dummy rounds and what investigators suspect are other live rounds.
New Mexico authorities are still investigating how a live bullet got in the gun — and as recently as Tuesday, a Santa Fe judge issued a warrant that allowed police to search the office of PDQ Arm & Prop LLC and its proprietor, Seth Kenney, the film’s weapons supplier.
According to a report Tuesday in the Los Angeles Times, Kenney told investigators that reloaded ammunition — live rounds made by taking empty casings and installing a primer, gunpowder and a bullet — may have ended up on the set along with the dummy rounds and blanks he had provided.
According to the Times, Kenney told a detective on Oct. 29 that “he may know where the live rounds came from.”
He also told police he had received “reloaded ammunition” from a friend, whose name was not released, with the logo of Starline Brass, the company whose ammunition components he used for the film.
Tell Reed, the father of “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, told a detective on Nov. 15 that he had worked on a previous production with Kenney in August or September, The Times reported. Reed, who has worked on Hollywood movies as a weapons expert, said they had provided training for the actors at a firing range, the affidavit stated.
Reed told investigators that Kenney asked him to bring live ammunition and that Kenney returned to New Mexico with the “ammo can” that Reed brought him and it still contained .45-caliber Colt ammunition.
“Tell stated this ammunition may match the ammunition found on the set of `Rust,”‘ according to an affidavit.
Gutierrez-Reed had previously told investigators she had difficulty loading the gun that Baldwin was holding.
“Hannah stated there was one round that wouldn’t go in, so after lunch she took the cleaner, cleaned it out, and put another round in, which brought the total to six rounds loaded into the weapon,” Sheriff’s Detective Alexandria Hancock wrote in an affidavit, The Times reported.
Along with the criminal investigation, the fatal shooting has led to an array of legal actions by crew members alleging widespread negligence and unsafe conditions on the film set.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)