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According to court documents, an assistant director handed a loaded gun to Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin and told him it was safe to use on set moments before the actor pulled the trigger and killed a cinematographer on the set of a Western film in New Mexico.
According to the document, the assistant director, Dave Halls, told New Mexico detectives that he had no idea the prop gun was loaded with live rounds.
“Cold gun!” Halls yelled before he handed it to Baldwin, The Associated Press reported. By yelling “Cold gun!”, a phrase used by film crews during movie sets that use guns or military equipment, Halls was indicating that the gun was safe to use on the set.
Unaware that the gun was loaded, Baldwin fired, striking cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, while Hutchins was hit in the chest.
The film’s script supervisor, Mamie Mitchell, said she was standing next to Hutchins when she was shot. “I ran out and called 911 and said ‘Bring everybody, send everybody,’” Mitchell told the AP.
The movie’s director, Joel Souza, was standing behind Hutchins when Baldwin pulled the trigger, the court papers said. He was wounded, briefly hospitalized, and released.
The gun had been one of three that the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, set on a cart outside a wooden structure where a scene was to be filmed, the AP said.
Investigators outlined details of the incident in a request for a search warrant to help them document the scene at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, where the shooting took place on Thursday afternoon, October 21.
According to the court document, Baldwin’s blood-stained costume was taken as evidence, as was the weapon that was fired.
Investigators also seized other prop guns and ammunition that were being used for the film, “Rust,” which is based on a story Baldwin and Souza wrote.
No immediate charges have been filed, and sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said Baldwin, 63, was permitted to travel.
“He’s a free man,” Rios said.
Meanwhile on Saturday, Baldwin attended a memorial held for Hutchins and he has reportedly been distraught by the incident.