Alec Baldwin was careful with guns on the set of the film Rust, according to the cameraman

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A camera operator tells authorities that Alec Baldwin was careful with weapons on the set of the movie ‘Rust’ before the actor shot and killed a cinematographer with a gun given to him said it was safe to use, according to court records.

Cameraman Reid Russell told a detective that Baldwin was rehearsing a scene Thursday in which he had to draw his gun while sitting on a pew and point it at the camera. Russell said he wasn’t sure the gun was checked before it was given to Baldwin.

The camera was not rolling when the gun detonated, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, Russell told a detective according to a search warrant affidavit.

Authorities said Friday that assistant manager Dave Halls handed the gun to Baldwin and announced a “cold gun,” saying it was safe to use.

Asked about Baldwin’s handling of guns on set, Russell said the actor was very careful, citing an instance where Baldwin made sure a child actor wasn’t near him when a weapon was unloaded.

Alec Baldwin is seen hunched over on a road outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office after being questioned about the shooting. Credit: NBC News/Jim Weber/The New Mexican

The affidavit released Sunday also includes statements from director Joel Souza, who stood behind Hutchins and was injured.

It details the moments leading up to filming and shows that there was commotion on set the day of filming. Several members of the film crew left the production in a dispute over payment and accommodation, Russell said, and he still had a lot of work to do. Only one camera was available to film, and it had to be moved because the light had shifted and there was a shadow.

Souza said he was focused on how the scene would appear on camera. He said he remembered hearing the phrase “cold weapon” used before the shooting.

He said the scene they were shooting did not require the use of live ammunition.

The church on the set of Rust in Santa Fe.
The church on the set of Rust in Santa Fe. Credit: Jae C. Hong/PA

Souza described the shot as resembling a whip and a loud pop.

On Sunday, a crew member who worked with Halls on another project said she raised safety concerns about him in 2019.

Maggie Goll, prop maker and licensed pyrotechnician, said in a statement that she filed an internal complaint with the executive producers of Hulu’s “Into the Dark” series in 2019 regarding concerns about Halls’ behavior on the plateau. Goll said in a phone interview Sunday that Halls failed to follow safety protocols for weapons and pyrotechnics and attempted to continue filming after the supervising pyrotechnician lost consciousness on set.

Halls did not return phone calls and emails seeking comment.

Alec Baldwin is seen taking a phone call after the shooting.
Alec Baldwin is seen taking a phone call after the shooting. Credit: PA

The fatal shooting and previous experiences point to larger safety issues that need to be addressed, Goll said, adding that the safety and well-being of crew members were key issues in recent contract negotiations between a union that represents film and television workers and a large group of producers.

“This situation is not about Dave Halls. … This is in no way the fault of one person,” she said. “It’s a larger conversation about safety on set and what we’re trying to achieve with that culture.”

The film’s chief electrician, Serge Svetnoy, blamed the producers for Hutchins’ death in an emotional Facebook post on Sunday. Svetnoy said he had worked with Hutchins on several films and criticized “the negligence and lack of professionalism” among those handling weapons on set. He said the producers hired an inexperienced gunsmith.

Hollywood professionals say they are bewildered by the circumstances, and production teams quickly tightened security measures.

A bouquet of flowers hangs from a barbed wire fence near Bonanza Creek Ranch where actor Alec Baldwin fired a propeller gun at the film set and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
A bouquet of flowers hangs from a barbed wire fence near Bonanza Creek Ranch where actor Alec Baldwin fired a propeller gun at the film set and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Credit: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Jeffrey Wright, who has worked on projects including the James Bond franchise and upcoming ‘The Batman’ movie, was wielding a gun on the set of ‘Westworld’ when news of the shooting broke Thursday at a New York ranch. Mexico. “We were all pretty shocked. And that informed what we did from that point on,” he said in an interview Sunday at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

“I don’t remember ever being given a gun that wasn’t clear in front of me – meaning the chamber was open, the barrel was shown to me, the light flashed inside the barrel to make sure he’s clear,” Wright said. “Obviously it was a poorly run set.”

Actor Ray Liotta agreed with Wright that gun controls are generally thorough.

“They’re still checking – as far as I know – so you can see,” Liotta said. “They give it to the person you’re pointing the gun at, they give it to the producer, they show whoever’s there that it doesn’t work.”

Halyna Hutchins
Alec Baldwin was careful with guns before shooting Halyna Hutchins with a ‘safe’ weapon, court documents say Credit: PA

A vigil for Hutchins was held in Southern California on Sunday, where attendees exchanged tearful hugs and speakers echoed calls for heightened safety standards.

Baldwin, who is known for his roles in “30 Rock” and “The Hunt for Red October” and his impression of former President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” described the murder as a “tragic accident.”

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