Alec Baldwin's Rust crew 'broke at least 4 industry gun safety rules'
Alec Baldwin and his Rust crew are accused of breaking at least FOUR movie industry gun safety rules before actor shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins
- Investigation continues into October 21 fatal shooting on set of the film Rust
- Alec Baldwin held loaded gun that was discharged, killing Halyna Hutchins
- Director Joel Souza was wounded in the shoulder and treated at hospital
- Industrywide gun safety standards dating back at least 18 years weren’t followed on set, documents suggest
- Union representing workers on set of films released document with guidelines
- Guidelines say not to use blanks and not to allow ‘horseplay’ with weapons
- Guns on sets must never be aimed at anyone unless necessary during filming
- A professional with expertise in safety expertise must also be on the set
- Reports suggest crew members used gun to shoot beer cans before tragedy
- Camera assistant who quit night before fatal shooting says there were just two safety meetings
- Attorney for armorer suggested someone loaded live rounds to sabotage film
- Alec Baldwin shared a social post written by a fellow Rust crew member
- Costume designer Terese Magpale Davis said claims of poor conditions on set were inaccurate
Alec Baldwin and the crew of Rust have been accused of breaking at least four key movie industry gun safety protocols before the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins.
Baldwin and his co-workers appear to have violated rules from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, against pointing a gun at a member of the cast or crew unless absolutely necessary.
The alliance’s rules – last revised in April 2003 – warn: ‘Refrain from pointing the firearm at anyone, including yourself. If it is absolutely necessary to do so on camera, consult the property master or other safety representative… Remember that any object at which you point a firearm could be destroyed.’
Baldwin is said to have broken that rule by pointing the gun at Hutchins and firing, killing her, having been told moments before that the gun was ‘cold’ – empty of rounds.
Guidance goes on to state that live ammunition must never be brought onto a set, with the document also warning ‘BLANKS CAN KILL.’
It continues: ‘TREAT ALL FIREARMS AS THOUGH THEY ARE LOADED. “LIVE AMMUNITION” IS NEVER TO BE USED NOR BROUGHT ONTO ANY STUDIO LOT OR STAGE.’
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the union representing workers on sets of films and television shows, issued an industry-wide set of safety standards and rules governing the use of guns. ‘BLANKS CAN KILL. TREAT ALL FIREARMS AS THOUGH THEY ARE LOADED. “LIVE AMMUNITION” IS NEVER TO BE USED NOR BROUGHT ONTO ANY STUDIO LOT OR STAGE,’ according to the guidelines
Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office say they believe a live round was loaded into the gun that killed Hutchins, 42, on October 21.
They are continuing to investigate the circumstances of the tragedy, amid recent claims the bullet feared to have killed Hutchins may have been deliberately loaded into the gun as an act of foul play.
Any weapons on set are also never to be used for ‘horseplay’, the alliance guidelines state, and must never be left attended.
But according to reports, the gun the 63-year-old actor used to accidentally kill Halyna Hutchins was used by crew members to shoot at beer cans just hours before the incident, in a game known as ‘plinking.’
The weapon used in the deadly shooting is also said to have been left unattended for two hours beforehand.
The alliance, which serves as a union representing workers on sets of films and television shows, issued an industry-wide set of safety standards and rules governing the use of guns. Those have been obtained by Fox Digital.
The guidelines also state that firearms should never be pointed at anyone unless absolutely necessary during filming
The guidelines also warn against using blanks and against ‘horseplay’
The fatal shooting by Alec Baldwin (right) of a cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins (left), on the set of Rust could have been avoided if Hollywood guidelines regulating the use of weapons were followed, according to documents
In the days before the tragedy, IATSE had been threatening a large-scale strike that would have crippled Hollywood production.
Among the complaints were overworking staff and poor rates.
Baldwin recorded a video of himself encouraging the union members to strike if they felt they needed to, saying studio bosses ‘don’t give a f**k about you’, that the union shared online.
Hutchins was shot and killed during rehearsals for the film in Santa Fe, New Mexico on October 21. The film set is seen on the day after the shooting as law enforcement officials launched an investigation that is ongoing
Guns should also never be pointed at anyone ‘unless absolutely necessary to do so on camera,’ according to the guidance.
Those on the set must also never engage in any ‘horseplay’ with the firearm.
Santa Fe Sheriff Adam Mendoza told reporters last week that a live bullet was loaded into the revolver used by Baldwin during rehearsals for the Western on October 21.
Baldwin held the gun when it discharged, firing a bullet that killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza.
According to investigators, David Halls, the assistant director, handed Baldwin the loaded .45 pistol during a scene rehearsal and told him it was ‘cold’ – meaning safe.
According to investigators, David Halls, the assistant director, handed Baldwin the loaded .45 pistol during a scene rehearsal and told him it was ‘cold’ – meaning safe
Lawyer Lisa Torraco, representing Halls, declared in a televised interview with Fox News Monday night that her client was not responsible for checking’ whether the gun he allegedly handed to Alec Baldwin was safe to use or not. She also would not concede her client gave the actor the gun
Halls had reportedly declared it a ‘cold’ weapon, meaning it was loaded only with blanks, without having checked all the rounds in the gun barrel. Above, Alec Baldwin speaks on the phone in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office in Santa Fe
Halls later told investigators that he did not know there was a live round inside.
The guidelines also state that someone trained in firearms safety procedures should be on site to guide actors and those handling the gun.
‘No one shall be issued a firearm until he or she is trained in safe handling, safe use, the safety lock, and proper firing procedures,’ according to guidelines.
According to an insider with knowledge of the set, several crew members on the set had taken several prop guns out the morning of the incident to go ‘plinking’ – a hobby in which people shoot at beer cans with live ammunition to pass the time.
The individual, who spoke on condition of anonymity to The Wrap, added that the round of unsanctioned target practice occurred just hours before Baldwin discharged one of the weapons and shot both Hutchins and Souza.
The weapon was one of three prop guns that the film’s rookie armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, had set up outside the set location on a gray cart, in the desert near the city of Santa Fe.
Attorneys representing Reed suggested that a disgruntled film crew member may have planted the live round that killed Hutchins inside a box of prop ammunition in a bid to ‘sabotage’ Baldwin’s film.
In the wake of the fatal shooting, several crew members have come out claiming that they were overworked and denied hotel rooms in the vicinity of the New Mexico set.
Gutierrez Reed’s attorneys floated the theory that one of those ‘disgruntled’ crew members may have planted the live round on set as an act of revenge, during an interview with the Today show’s Savannah Guthrie on Wednesday.
Sources on the set of Rust said the incident that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins could be tied to the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed
Attorneys Robert Gorence (left) and Jason Bowles (right), representing ‘Rust’ armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, appeared on the Today Show on Wednesday to discuss the fatal shooting
‘I believe that somebody who would do that, would want to sabotage the set, would want to prove a point, want to say they’re disgruntled, they’re unhappy,’ Jason Bowles said.
‘And we know that people had already walked off the set the day before… and the reason they are unhappy is they’re working 12 to 14 hour days, they are not given hotel rooms in and around the area, so they had to drive back and forth an hour to Albuquerque, and they’re unhappy.’
Bowles said his client was unaware that any live bullets were loaded into the gun before the deadly October 21 shooting near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Gutierrez Reed has not been named a suspect, or charged with any crime in connection with Hutchins’ killing, but she retained legal representation.
‘There was a box of dummy rounds, and the box is labeled “dummy,'” Bowles said. ‘[Gutierrez Reed] loaded rounds from that box into the handgun, only later to find out – she had no idea – that there was a live round.’
The armorer then handed the vintage Colt pistol to assistant director David Halls, who, in turn, passed it on to Baldwin and announced ‘cold gun,’ indicating that the weapon was safe to use, according to authorities investigating the deadly October 21 shooting near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
‘We’re assuming somebody put the live round in that box,’ Bowles told Guthrie. ‘The person who put the live round in the box of dummy rounds had to have the purpose of sabotaging the set. There is no other reason you would do that: that you would mix that live round in with the dummy rounds.’
Gutierrez Reed’s other attorney, Robert Gorence, revealed that while the Colt had been locked away in a safe, the box of dummy ammunition was in a prop truck, which was ‘completely unattended at all times, giving someone access and opportunity.’
Gorence also said that after the armorer retrieved the gun and loaded it with the rounds from the box, it was left unattended on a tray for two hours ahead of an afternoon film shoot.
Gutierrez Reed’s lawyers defended her actions that day, saying that the loaded gun was not in her care for the entire duration of the filming because she was expected to perform two jobs on set: as an armorer and a props assistant.
Bowels said that after lunch, Gutierrez Reed handed the gun she had loaded earlier to Halls and then went about performing her other duties as a props assistant.
As she handed over the Colt, the lawyer said Gutierrez Reed spun the chamber to show Halls the rounds inside.
Lawyers said as Gutierrez Reed (pictured at her home in Arizona, left) handed the loaded gun to assistant director David Halls (right), she spun the chamber to show him the rounds, but did not inspect them
‘She did spin the cylinder for him,’ Bowles said. ‘She did show him each and every round in that chamber, which there were six.’
He added: ‘The problem is, when you look at a dummy round and you look at their appearance, they have the same projectile tip; some of these do not have a hole in the side. They mimic and look like a real round.’
The armorer’s legal team admitted that she did not inspect the gun to ascertain that the rounds inside the chamber were not live ammunition.
Gorence explained that Gutierrez Reed was not inside the church set at the time of the shooting because it took place while cameras were being set up, and not during filming,
‘She wasn’t there,’ the lawyer stressed.
The armorer’s attorneys said they are cooperating with the investigation, and are hoping that the FBI would be able to determine who had planted the live round.
The attorneys for Gutierrez Reed she is ‘absolutely devastated.’
‘She remains very emotional about everything that’s happened,’ Bowles said. ‘Coming on the scene and everything that she saw, she is heartbroken and she is just devastated by what’s happened.’
Meanwhile, ‘Rust’ camera assistant Lane Luper, who quit on the eve of the shooting, told Good Morning America that there were only two safety meetings on set and said production did not take gun safety seriously.
‘I think with Rust, it was the perfect storm of the armorer, the assistant director, the culture that was on set, the rushing. It was everything,’ he said.
Luper claimed the crew were overworked and exhausted from commuting to and from the set, and he also cited poor gun safety, which he said resulted in two accidental weapon discharges and one accidental sound-effects explosion.
Baldwin has been largely silent about what happened on the set of ‘Rust,’ but on Tuesday he shared a social media post from one crew member slamming her coworkers for painting a ‘blatantly false’ picture of the set as ‘chaotic and unsafe’.
Baldwin issued a public statement the day after Hutchins’ death in which he indicated that he was cooperating with authorities and offered his condolences to her family.
Halls’ attorney this week says it was not her client’s responsibility to confirm whether the weapon was safe to use or not – contradicting his previous admission that he should have checked the gun beforehand.
Luper Lane has criticized the film’s production as one that created the perfect storm for the tragic shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins
Halyna Hutchins, center, was shot when a gun held by Alec Baldwin, to her left, went off in his hands. The gun was supposed to only only blanks, not live rounds
‘He’s not responsible for checking it,’ declared Lisa Torraco, lawyer for Rust assistant director David Halls, in a televised interview with Fox News on Monday night.
‘That’s not the assistant director’s job.’
Torraco then further clarified to interviewer Martha MacCallum: ‘If he chooses to check the firearm because he wants to make sure that everyone’s safe, he can do that, but that’s not his responsibility.’
According to a search warrant executed by the Santa Fe County sheriffs last week, Halls acknowledged to police that he should have checked all the rounds loaded in the prop gun before it was given to lead actor Baldwin, who accidentally shot two crew members on the Santa Fe set.
Halls told investigator that he ‘couldn’t recall if he spun the drum’ before the fatal shooting on October 21.
‘David advised the incident was not a deliberate act,’ one detective wrote in the report.
Souza also told Santa Fe police that his assistant director was supposed to check the gun before handing it to Baldwin, but could not recall if he had actually done it.
‘He advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t,’ the warrant read.
Torraco, however, says that Halls’ job description as an assistant director did not require him to check the gun.
‘Expecting an assistant director to check a firearm is like telling the assistant director to check the camera angle or telling the assistant director to check sound or lighting,’ Torraco told MacCallum Monday night.
Torraco also insisted that Halls did not handle the gun the day of the incident – contradicting investigator’s accounts detailed in the affidavit.
‘This idea my client grabbed the gun and handed it to Baldwin absolutely did not happen,’ the attorney attested in Monday’s interview, before backtracking and deflecting questions concerning whether or not Halls physically passed the gun to the actor.
MacCallum then pressed the attorney, asking her point-blank if Halls ‘doesn’t know if he handed the gun to Alec Baldwin.’
Baldwin shared a screengrab of a post written by costume designer Terese Magpale Davis (pictured) to his Instagram account Tuesday with the caption: ‘Read this’
Davis’ post, which was several paragraphs long, provided alleged evidence against claims being made by crew members
‘The armorer brought the weapon in,’ Torraco replied, referring to the film’s rookie gunsmith, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, while dodging MacCallum’s question concerning who handed the gun to Baldwin.
‘The armorer opens the firearm,’ Torraco continued. ‘[Halls] didn’t load it.’
Torraco’s televised spot came hours after her client spoke out about the incident for the first time.
In a statement Monday addressing the October 21 shooting, Halls called Hutchins his ‘friend’ and asked the industry to ‘reevaluate’ its values.
‘I’m shocked and saddened by her death,’ Halls said. ‘It’s my hope that this tragedy prompts the industry to reevaluate its values and practices to ensure no one is harmed through the creative process again.’
‘Halyna Hutchins was not just one of the most talented people I’ve worked with, but also a friend,’ he added.
Despite breaking his silence, the assistant director failed to address reports that he was one of the three people, aside from Baldwin, to handle the loaded gun before the tragic accident.
The other two were armorer Gutierrez-Reed and prop master Sarah Zachry.
During Monday’s interview, however, Torraco stated that she and her team have interviewed another crew member – who she referred to as a ‘he,’ – who the lawyer says ‘checked’ the firearm before it was handed off to Baldwin.
Torraco did not provide any further details as to the mystery crew member’s identity.
The revelation contradicts reports given by investigators, who have previously stated that only Halls, Baldwin, armorer Gutierrez-Reed and Zachry handled the gun in the hours before the shooting.
Torraco also stated that she has spoken to some crew members who were working on the film’s Santa Fe set the day of the incident, who recall Gutierrez-Reed, not Halls, handing the weapon to Baldwin.
She then added that others recall seeing Halls pass it to the actor directly after being passed the weapon by Gutierrez-Reed himself.
According to several other reports and witness accounts, Baldwin received the gun from Halls.
Torraco, however, told MacCallum that that ‘doesn’t matter’ – because it’s ‘not the assistant director’s job’ to check the gun.
Baldwin on Tuesday shared a social media post from a fellow Rust crew member slamming her coworkers for painting a ‘blatantly false’ picture of the set as ‘chaotic and unsafe’.
Baldwin shared a screenshot of a post written by costume designer Terese Magpale Davis to his Instagram account Tuesday with the caption: ‘Read this.’
‘I am so sick of this narrative,’ Davis wrote in her post. ‘I worked on this movie. The story being spun of us being overworked and surrounded by unsafe, chaotic conditions is bull***t.’
Crew members began speaking out about the alleged conditions on set after Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during filming.
Davis’ post refuted many of the complaints of crew members – including that they routinely worked more than 12-hour days.
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (pictured) died on October 21 after Baldwin pointed and fired a Colt pistol at her during a scene
‘We never worked more than a 12.5 hour shoot day. That was once,’ Davis wrote.
‘Most days were under 12. The day Halyna died we had come off of a 12 hour turnaround after an 11 hour shoot day. We had (including camera) gotten off by 6:30pm.’
She continued: ‘We had just had a 56 hour weekend right before that. No one was too tired to do their jobs.
‘This is all provable by daily time sheets.’
Several Rust crew members also alleged that the production had promised to provide them with hotel rooms in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area – where the film was being shot – but said were later told they needed to make a 50-mile drive from Albuquerque each day instead.
According to Davis, these allegations were false.
‘The camera crew HAD hotels. They just didn’t feel they were fancy enough. NOT that they were unsafe. You can’t tell me that 6 big men felt so unsafe in their hotel but were fine sleeping in their cars in parking lots (which never happened) like they also claimed.’
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