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Alec Baldwin says he did not pull trigger in ‘Rust’ shooting

On Dec. 2, Alec Baldwin spoke with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos about the October 2021 shooting on the set of the film “Rust.” (Video: Julie Yoon/The Washington Post)
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Alec Baldwin said in a new television interview that he did not pull the trigger on the gun he was holding while practicing a scene on the set of the film “Rust.” The weapon went off in Baldwin’s hand that October afternoon, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.

“I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them. Never,” Baldwin told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos in snippets teased from an hour-long interview that will air on ABC Thursday at 8 p.m. and stream on Hulu later in the night. In another portion of the emotional conversation, Baldwin stated that he had no idea how the live bullet wound up on set.

“Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property,” he said.

An attorney for “Rust” assistant director Dave Halls said Thursday on “Good Morning America” that Halls told her upon their first meeting that Baldwin did not pull the trigger.

“His finger was never in the trigger guard,” said the attorney, Lisa Torraco.

The fatal shooting, which took place Oct. 21 at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., is under investigation by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. According to an affidavit released earlier this week, the office is now looking into whether Seth Kenney, the man who was supposed to supply the production with firearms, dummy rounds and blanks, also provided live ammunition.

Previous interviews with detectives established that Hannah Gutierrez, the 24-year-old armorer in charge of handling all the firearms on set, believed the .45 Long Colt revolver in question to have been loaded with dummy rounds. Halls grabbed the gun from the cart where Gutierrez left it and handed it to Baldwin, yelling “cold gun” to indicate it did not contain any live rounds.

Baldwin was sitting on a wooden pew inside a church building when the gun discharged. According to the new document, Gutierrez told a detective she was not often allowed to enter the building, because of covid protocols, and therefore heard the gun go off from outside. Prop master Sarah Zachry said she checked the box of ammo shortly after the incident and, per the affidavit, “found some of the cartridges would rattle, which signified them being ‘dummy rounds,’ [while] others did not rattle.”

Kenney, who runs a business called PDQ Arm & Prop in Albuquerque, initially told the detective he supplied Gutierrez and Zachry only with dummy rounds and blanks — but later mentioned he had received “reloaded ammunition” from a friend a couple of years ago. Thell Reed, Gutierrez’s father and a renowned Hollywood armorer, spoke with the detective and said he had worked on another project a few months ago with Kenney, who requested Reed bring live ammo for actors to use during a live fire training.

Reed said he that had tried to retrieve the ammo from Kenney after the training but that Kenney told him to “write it off.” Reed said the ammo might match what was found on the set of “Rust.”

Kenney could not be reached for comment.

Jason Bowles, an attorney for Gutierrez who previously suggested someone may have tried to “sabotage the set,” issued a statement commending the sheriff’s office for looking into Kenney.

‘Rust’ armorer’s lawyer suggests ‘sabotage,’ crew member details lack of gun safety on set of Alec Baldwin movie

“The questions of who introduced the live rounds onto the set and why are the central questions in the case,” Bowles wrote. The affidavit “is a major step towards answering those questions and we commend the Sheriff’s Office and their lead investigator on their continuing tireless work to find the truth.”

Gutierrez, Halls and Baldwin, who also produced “Rust,” have all been named as defendants in a pair of lawsuits describing negligence and unsafe work conditions on set.

Last month, chief lighting technician Serge Svetnoy sued around two dozen people involved with the production and alleged that some of the ammo on set was not “stored securely” and was “left unattended in the prop truck.” Script supervisor Mamie Mitchell stated in her own lawsuit, which also named other “Rust” producers and production companies as defendants, that efforts to cut costs and stick to a shoestring budget wound up endangering the lives of crew members.

Alec Baldwin prop gun shooting

The latest: Charges against actor Alec Baldwin have been dropped for the fatal shooting on the set of “Rust,” Baldwin’s attorney confirmed Thursday. In January, prosecutors announced plans to charge Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed with two counts each of involuntary manslaughter.

What happened? Alec Baldwin says he did not pull the trigger. A search warrant details the fatal shooting and a walkout by crew members over labor conditions. Before the shooting, two film-set workers handled the gun on set.

Who was Halyna Hutchins? The 42-year-old cinematographer was known as an innovative filmmaker and trailblazer for other women in film.

Dangers on U.S. film sets: The “Rust” shooting death has sparked calls for change from many in the industry as well as lawmakers. Technology could offer solutions, but it’s not so simple.