Report: Gun in Baldwin Shooting Used for Target Practice Hours Before; COVID Restrictions Might Be Factor

AP Photo/John Minchillo

There have been a lot of unbelievable reports from the story of the shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin’s movie “Rust.”

But they just keep coming.


If you read the warrant that has been filed by the police, there’s a troubling part that is causing a lot of comment on social media. It has to do with what it says they did in regard to COVID protocols. Deadline has a copy of the affidavit for the search warrant and you can read the whole thing there. But here’s the part in question.

Upon arrival, Affiant learned, the location of the incident was inside of a structure located at 545 Bonanza Creek Road and the OPS location being N35.32.35, WI06.5.52. Affiant learned the firearm used during the incident was secured by arriving deputies along with the ammunition.

During the filming of the movie, the Assistant Director (Dave Halls,) grabbed one of three “prop-guns” that was set-up by the Armorer (Hannah Gutierrez), which was on a cart. The cart is a gray in color rolling table with two layers and was left outside of the structure due to COVID19 restrictions. Affiant learned one of the prop-guns was then grabbed by the Assistant Director (Dave Halls) and he took it to the actor identified as Alec Baldwin who was inside of the structure. As the Assistant Director (Dave Halls) handed the gun to the Actor Alec Baldwin, (Dave Halls) yelled, “Cold Gun,” indicating the prop-gun did not have any live rounds. The prop-gun was fired by the Actor Alec Baldwin, striking the Cinematographer identified as (Halayna Hutchins) and Joel Souza (Director) who was behind the Cinematographer (Halayna Hutchins).


So the guns were left on a cart outside the church because of “COVID restrictions.” What does that mean? Reading between the lines, COVID restrictions have to do with people, not guns. So it seems to me it’s saying only certain people were allowed into the church at that time and maybe the armorer wasn’t one of them. So did they really cut out having the armorer be the last person to hand Baldwin the weapon? And then it was left to the assistant director, Dave Halls.

It’s not clear what his understanding of guns was. There have been reports that he had a prior safety complaint about him.

Actor Adam Baldwin (no relation to Alec) asks that question.

But Joel Souza also revealed another problem with this setup. Souza said that he recalls the call about the gun being “cold” but that he doesn’t know if it was checked after they came back from their lunch break, according to the affidavit.

According to Joel it was his belief the gun being used in the rehearsal was safe and used the term “cold gun” when explaining the firearm safety announcements. He said he remembered the phrase “Cold Gun” being said, while preparing for the scene.

Joel explained what he knows about the firearm safety. He said what he knows is three people had been handling the guns or firearms for the scenes. He said the firearms are checked by Hanna who is the Armorer, and then the firearm is checked by the Assistant Director Dave Halls, who then gives it to the Actor using the firearm. [….]

Joel explained that prior to the discharge of the firearm by Actor Alec Baldwin, they had been working on preparing for the scene before lunch. Joel said they broke for lunch around 12:30 p.m. and had to be shuttled to an area away from the set to have breakfast, lunch and dinner. Joel advised they returned back to the set after lunch, although he is not sure if the firearm was checked again.


Again, reading between the lines, that means there was a break in between the time of the gun being declared “cold” and the shooting, during which time they went out to lunch off the set. After which they came back and Souza doesn’t know if the gun was checked again. Where was the gun in the interim? Was it outside on the cart to be picked up and used for target practice on lunch or open to someone else using it/fooling around with it? We reported previously that there were reports the prop guns were used for target practice while on breaks. Did anyone check the gun again? Was it the same gun or one of the other guns on the cart?

On top of all that, now there’s also a report that very gun used was used for target practice to shoot at beer cans earlier in the day, in the morning before the shooting.

From The Wrap:

A number of crew members had taken prop guns from the New Mexico set of the indie Western — including the gun that killed Hutchins — to go “plinking,” a hobby in which people shoot at beer cans with live ammunition to pass the time, the insider said.

If that’s true, there’s a lot of liability to share around here.

There are a lot of big safety questions that need to be answered here. Add horrible gun safety issues, if the reports are true, plus if the COVID protocols contributed to this, that would just add to the very bad decisions that went into this tragedy.



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