Prop gun fired by Alec Baldwin on ‘Rust’ set was loaded with a bullet, sheriffs say

Alec Baldwin, Rust set
Alec Baldwin, Rust set. Mark Sagliocco / Getty Images for National Geographic / Jae C. Hong / AP Photo

The prop gun fired by actor Alec Baldwin during the deadly shooting on the New Mexico set of his latest movie “Rust” was loaded with a bullet, officials said Wednesday.

“We believe that we have the spent shell casing from the bullet that was fired from the gun,” he said, adding that a lead projectile had also been recovered,” the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office said in a press conference.

Officials said at the press conference that they weren’t ruling out charges in the incident.

Baldwin, who was producing and starring in the Western flick, was rehearsing a scene for the film on October 21 when he discharged the firearm, fatally shooting the cinematographer and wounding the director, according to affidavits released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.

Halyna Hutchins, 42, was shot in the chest and killed, while director Joel Souza, 48, was hit in the right shoulder.

According to the affidavits that were included in search warrant documents for the movie set at Santa Fe’s Bonanza Creek Ranch, the prop gun that Baldwin used was one of three that was “set up” by the film’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and left on a cart.

The firearm was then grabbed by the movie’s assistant director, Dave Halls, who took it to Baldwin for a scene inside a church building on the set, according to the police documents.

As Halls handed the gun to Baldwin, Halls yelled out “cold gun,” indicating that it did not contain any live rounds before the incident, according to the documents.

The gun was then fired by Baldwin, striking Hutchins, as well as Souza, who was behind Hutchins at the time.

Halls said he did not know live rounds were in the prop gun when he handed it to Baldwin, the affidavit says.

In the aftermath of the shooting, reports have suggested that the prop gun used in the fatal incident was used for live-ammo target practice by crew members on the morning of the shooting.

Several crew members took prop guns from the movie and drove away from the “Rust” set to shoot beer cans with live ammunition, according to sources cited by The Wrap and TMZ.

According to a court document filed Monday in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court, Santa Fe authorities recovered nine spent casings along with three black revolvers and “loose ammo” from the movie set after the shooting.

A fanny pack with ammo in it, a brown leather gun belt, 14 swabs of “suspected blood,” several boxes of ammo, “loose ammo and boxes from bottom tray,” photographs, a gray T-shirt and a white beanie were also included among the 29 items on the inventory list that authorities seized as part of their investigation into the matter.

Baldwin broke his silence a day after the shooting, saying his “heart is broken.”

“There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours,” Baldwin had tweeted.

“I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred,” he added.

“Rust” is an independently-produced Western in which Baldwin plays an outlaw who rescues his 13-year-old grandson who is sentenced to hang for manslaughter.

Since the incident, several reports have emerged pointing to an unsafe filming environment on the set.

According to the Los Angeles Times, several members of the camera crew walked off set to protest safety conditions hours before the shooting.

Gutierrez-Reed, the head armorer, previously told a podcast she almost didn’t take her previous job because she wasn’t sure if she was experienced enough. “Rust” was her second movie as a head armorer.