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Investigation Cameraman unsure if gun was checked before fatal shooting on Alec Baldwin film set

When asked about how Baldwin treated firearms on the set, Mr Russell said the actor was very careful

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Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin

A camera operator told authorities that Alec Baldwin had been careful with weapons on the set of the film Rust before the actor shot and killed a cinematographer with a gun he had been told was safe to use, court records released Sunday show.

Cameraman Reid Russell told a detective that Baldwin was rehearsing a scene Thursday in which he was set to draw his gun while sitting in a church pew and point it at the camera. Mr Russell said he was unsure whether the weapon was checked before it was handed to Baldwin.

The camera wasn’t rolling when the gun went off, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, Mr Russell told a detective according to a search warrant affidavit.

Authorities said Friday that the assistant director, Dave Halls, had handed the weapon to Baldwin and announced “cold gun,” indicating it was safe to use.

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Attendees hold candles during a vigil for Halyna Hutchins in Burbank, California. Photo: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Attendees hold candles during a vigil for Halyna Hutchins in Burbank, California. Photo: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Attendees hold candles during a vigil for Halyna Hutchins in Burbank, California. Photo: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

When asked about how Baldwin treated firearms on the set, Mr Russell said the actor was very careful, citing an instance when Baldwin made sure a child actor was not near him when a gun was being discharged.

The affidavit released Sunday also includes statements by director Joel Souza, who was standing behind Ms Hutchins and was wounded.

It detailed the moments before the shooting and shows that there was turmoil on the set the day of the shooting. Several members of the camera crew walked off the production in a dispute over payment and lodging, Mr Russell said.

He recalled hearing the phrase “cold gun” being used before the shooting.

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Halyna Hutchins. Photo: HALYNAHUTCHINS via Instagram/via REUTERS

Halyna Hutchins. Photo: HALYNAHUTCHINS via Instagram/via REUTERS

Halyna Hutchins. Photo: HALYNAHUTCHINS via Instagram/via REUTERS

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He said the scene they were shooting did not call for the use of live rounds. He described the gunshot as sounding like a whip and a loud pop.

On Sunday, a crew member who worked with Mr Halls on another project said she had raised safety concerns about him in 2019.

Maggie Goll, a prop maker and licensed pyrotechnician, said in a statement that she filed an internal complaint with the executive producers of Hulu’s Into the Dark series in 2019 over concerns about Mr Halls’ behaviour on set.

She that Mr Halls disregarded safety protocols for weapons and pyrotechnics and tried to continue filming after the supervising pyrotechnician lost consciousness on set.

Hollywood professionals say they’re baffled by the circumstances and production crews have quickly stepped up safety measures.

A vigil for Ms Hutchins was held Sunday in Southern California.

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