SANTA FE, N.M. — Alec Baldwin was practicing a “cross draw” in a church pew when he pointed his weapon at the camera during the prop gun mishap that left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead, newly released documents reveal.
Two new witness accounts made public by the Sante Fe Sheriff’s Office on Sunday night describe the harrowing moments after the 42-year-old director of photography was shot inside the church building on the New Mexico set of the film “Rust”.
Baldwin was rehearsing the gun-retrieval method from a pew of the mock church at Bonanza Creek Ranch when he aimed at the camera as both Hutchins and 48-year-old director, Joel Souza stood behind it.
Souza then says he heard a “loud pop,” according to a police interview.
Souza told investigators that he remembered hearing the phrase “cold-gun” while preparing for the scene. But Souza said that the crew had broken for lunch and the director was unsure if the gun had been checked again.
Another witness, cameraman Reid Russel, gave additional insight into the moments leading up to the horrific tragedy.
“Reid said while preparing, there was a shadow coming from the outside light and they had to move the camera at a different angle from Alec,” the warrant says.
“He said Alec was trying to explain how he was going to draw out of the firearm and where his arm would be at when the firearm was pulled from the holster,” according to the warrant.
“Reid was not sure why the firearm was discharged and just remembered the loud bang from the firearm,” the document states.
Souza was looking over the shoulder of Hutchins when the Thursday tragedy unfolded.
The fatal discharge from what was described in the documents as a “revolver” hit Hutchins in the stomach and Souza in the shoulder.
The cinematographer told the nearby crew that “she couldn’t feel her legs,” Russel told investigators, according to the warrant.
Souza told authorities that Hutchins stumbled backward while complaining of pain before she was helped to the ground. Hutchins was then airlifted to the hospital, but could not be saved. Souza has since been released from the hospital.
Filmmakers have traditionally used real guns on movie sets but load them with blanks instead of real bullets to avoid a similar mishap.
Production on the film has been halted amid an investigation on the shooting and an “absolutely devastated” Baldwin is reportedly taking time off from his other projects.