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Probe Into Movie Set Shooting That Killed Ukraine-Born Cinematographer Focuses On Gun Protocol

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was struck in the chest and died shortly after the shooting incident on a movie set in New Mexico. (file photo)
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was struck in the chest and died shortly after the shooting incident on a movie set in New Mexico. (file photo)

An investigation into the fatal shooting of Ukrainian-born cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on a movie set is focusing on the specialist in charge of weapons and the assistant director who handed the gun to actor Alec Baldwin before he fired it.

Hutchins, 42, was struck in the chest and died shortly after the incident in the southwestern U.S. state of New Mexico on October 21, while director Joel Souza, 48, was wounded and briefly hospitalized.

Souza spoke out about the shooting for the first time on October 23, saying he was "gutted" by the loss of Hutchins.

"She was kind, vibrant, incredibly talented, fought for every inch, and always pushed me to be better," he told Deadline, an entertainment news website.

The shooting on the set of the movie Rust during a rehearsal at a ranch near the city of Santa Fe raised questions about gun-safety protocols for film sets.

Some details of the incident emerged in court documents submitted by the Santa Fe County sheriff's office to obtain a search warrant.

The documents said assistant director Dave Halls, who handed the gun to Baldwin, called out "cold gun," indicating the weapon had no live ammunition.

The assistant director did not know the gun contained live rounds, a detective with the Santa Fe Sheriff's Department said in the documents.

Actor Alec Baldwin (file photo)
Actor Alec Baldwin (file photo)

Baldwin handed the gun to Hannah Gutierrez-Reed -- the movie's weapons master -- immediately after the shooting, and she removed a spent casing and handed it and the gun to deputies when they arrived, the court documents say.

Neither Halls nor Gutierrez-Reed have commented publicly.

There also have been reports that the shooting occurred only hours after a walk-out by film crew members over various complaints about working conditions.

Rust Movie Productions said in a statement that it had not been made aware of any official complaints but would "continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities" while also conducting its own review.

Baldwin, 63, is known for his roles in the television series 30 Rock, the 1990 movie The Hunt for Red October, and his impression of former President Donald Trump on the television sketch show Saturday Night Live.

He has cooperated with investigators and no charges have been filed.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Deadline
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