The assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin the prop firearm that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins told authorities he did not check all the rounds inside the revolver before declaring it a “cold gun” on the New Mexico set of the film “Rust,” a new warrant filed Wednesday revealed.
Assistant director David Halls admitted to investigators he should have inspected all the rounds in the handgun before last Thursday’s shooting, the warrant said.
Halls picked up the gun and brought it over to the production’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, to be checked prior to a rehearsal for a scene last Thursday, according to the search warrant filed in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court.
“I check the barrel for obstructions, most of the time there’s no live fire, [Hannah] opens the hatch and spins the drum, and I say cold gun on set,” Halls said, according to the document.
Halls said that he only recalled seeing three rounds in the chamber ahead of passing the gun over to Baldwin.
“He advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t recall if [Gutierrez] spun the drum,” the warrant said.
After Hutchins was fatally wounded and director Joel Souza was injured when the gun held by Baldwin fired, Halls picked up the gun from a pew in the church where they were filming, according to the warrant.
He brought the firearm to Gutierrez, who opened the gun to see what was inside.
Halls said he could only remember seeing at least four “dummy” casings with a hole on the side and one without a hole, the warrant reveals. He said this round did not have a “cap” on it and was just the casing.
Halls previously was fired from the set of “Freedom’s Path” in 2019 after a crew member incurred a minor and temporary injury when a gun unexpectedly discharged, a producer on the project told NBC News.
According to the warrant, Gutierrez explained that when the crew broke for lunch ahead of rehearsing the scene in the church that all firearms were brought into the on-set prop truck and secured in a safe. The ammo was left on the cart on set and not secured.
After lunch, on-set property manager Sarah Zachary retrieved the guns from the safe and handed them to Gutierrez, the warrant said. Gutierrez told authorities that no live ammo is ever kept on set.
“Joel [Souza] said as far as he knows, no one gets checked for live ammunition on their person prior and after the scenes are being filmed,” the document said. “The only thing checked are the firearms to avoid live ammunition being in them. Joel stated there should never be live rounds whatsoever near or around the scene.”
The search warrant was disclosed less than an hour after Santa Fe County investigators told reporters that they believe they found the lead projectile that caused Hutchins’ death. Authorities said the object was recovered from the shoulder of Souza.
The investigation has also turned up the gun and spent casing that is believed to have been used in the accidental shooting, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said.