Alec Baldwin was rehearsing a scene that involved pointing a revolver "towards the camera lens" when the gun - which the crew had been told did not contain live rounds - suddenly went off and killed the cinematographer, according to the film's director, who was quoted in an affidavit released Sunday night.
The director, who was wounded in the shooting, told investigators that he had believed that the gun was safe and that it had been described as a "cold gun" in firearm safety announcements. He said that guns on the film's set were typically checked by the film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, and then checked again by Dave Halls, the assistant director, who would hand them to the actors.
On film sets, the order of who handles a weapon typically involves a precise sequence, several armorers in the industry said. But actors had been handed guns on the set by both Mr. Halls and Ms. Gutierrez-Reed, according to a producer of "Rust" who asked not to be named because of the ongoing investigation.
Mr. Baldwin had been sitting in a wooden church pew, rehearsing a scene that involved "cross drawing" a revolver and pointing it at the camera lens, Mr. Joel Souza said, according to the affidavit. Mr. Souza said that he had been standing beside Ms. Hutchins "viewing the camera angle."
The film's director, Souza, described hearing what "sounded like a whip and then loud pop."
Mr. Souza saw Ms. Hutchins grabbing her midsection and starting to stumble backward. Then he noticed he was bleeding from his shoulder.
Mr. Russell told the detective that after returning to the set from lunch, he had stepped outside for about five minutes; when he returned, according to the affidavit, Mr. Baldwin, Ms. Hutchins and Mr. Souza were setting up the scene and were already "in possession of the firearm." Mr. Russell said he was not sure if the firearm had been inspected because he had been absent for those five minutes.
According to the affidavit, Mr. Halls grabbed the revolver from a gray, two-tiered tray set up by Ms. Gutierrez-Reed. Mr. Halls handed the gun to Mr. Baldwin and shouted, "cold gun," which on a film set typically refers to an unloaded firearm.
While setting up the scene, the crew had to reposition the camera because there was a shadow. Mr. Russell told the detective that Mr. Baldwin was explaining how he was going to draw the gun, pulling it out from the holster, when the firearm discharged.
Mr. Russell said that Mr. Baldwin had been "very careful" with the firearm; during an earlier scene, Mr. Russell said, Mr. Baldwin had tried to ensure safety on set, making sure that a child wasn't near him when he was discharging the gun. Asked about how members of the production team were behaving as they set up the scene, he said "everyone seemed to be getting along."
Mr. Souza, the director, told the detective that because the crew had been setting up the scene when the gun discharged, the incident had not been filmed.