Alec Baldwin unaware he was handed loaded weapon in moments before fatal shooting

ITV News Correspondent Robert Moore has the latest from the investigation as authorities work to understand exactly what went wrong

Alec Baldwin was unknowingly handed a loaded weapon by an assistant director who indicated it was safe to use in the moments before the death of a cinematographer on set, who died after Mr Baldwin fired the prop.

Court records released on Friday show the assistant director said “cold gun,” not knowing the prop gun was loaded with live rounds, according to a search warrant filed in a Santa Fe court.

Halyna Hutchins was hit in the chest after Mr Baldwin fired the prop, while Director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her, was wounded.

The warrant was obtained Friday so that investigators could document the scene at the ranch where the shooting took place. It notes that Baldwin’s blood-stained costume for the film “Rust” was taken as evidence, as was the weapon that was fired.

The actor appeared distraught following the accidental shooting. Credit: AP

How did a loaded weapon end up on set?

The gun was one of three that the film's armourer, Hannah Gutierrez, had set on a cart outside the wooden structure where a scene was being acted, according to the records.

Assistant director Dave Halls grabbed the gun from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds, a detective wrote in the search warrant application. It was unclear how many rounds were fired. Gutierrez removed a shell casing from the gun after the shooting, and she turned the weapon over to police when they arrived, the court records say.

Investigators also seized other prop guns and ammunition that were being used for the film starring Baldwin.

The tragedy came nearly three decades after Brandon Lee, the son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, died in a similar case.

'My heart is broken' says Alec Baldwin

Earlier, Mr Baldwin had said “there are no words to convey my shock and sadness” following the death of a cinematographer who died after he fired a prop firearm on a film set.

The Hollywood actor confirmed he is “fully cooperating” with the police investigation into the accident, in which Ms Hutchins, 42, died of her injuries.

A second tweet said: “I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”

How events unfolded

The film’s script supervisor, Mamie Mitchell, said she was standing next to Ms Hutchins when she was shot. “I ran out and called 911 and said ‘Bring everybody, send everybody,’” Mitchell told The Associated Press.

“This woman is gone at the beginning of her career. She was an extraordinary, rare, very rare woman.”

Mitchell said she and other crew members were attending a private memorial service Friday night in Santa Fe.

Following the incident Ms Hutchins was airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel, authorities said.

Mr Souza, 48, was taken by ambulance to Christus St Vincent Regional Medical Centre, where he underwent treatment for his injuries and was subsequently released on Friday.

Production has been halted on the film.

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With the investigation still ongoing to ascertain what exactly took place, almost 100 eyewitnesses who were present during the incident will need to give statements or be interviewed.

Sources told ITV News' Robert Moore that Alec Baldwin himself was exceptionally cooperative, voluntarily going to the Sheriff's office and providing them with all the relevant information.

Listen to the 911 call made in the moments are the gun was discharged

Once person who is regarded as crucial to the investigation is the armourer, namely the member of the crew in charge of the firearms and props on the set. But there is some confidence in the Sheriff's office that information from eyewitnesses as well as the autopsy on Ms Hutchins will solve the mystery of what happened on the film set in at least a week's time.

Halyna Hutchins

Ms Hutchins, 42, was director of photography on the 2020 action film Archenemy, starring Joe Manganiello.

Halyna Hutchins Credit: @halynahutchins/Instagram

A 2015 graduate of the American Film Institute, she was named a “rising star” by American Cinematographer in 2019.

Two days ago, in her last Instagram post, Ms Hutchins published a video of herself riding a horse in New Mexico.

"One of the perks of shooting a Western is you get to ride horses on your day off," she wrote.

Following her death, Archenemy director and Ms Hutchins' former colleague Adam Mortimer told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "It’s unbelievable that Halyna, who was a rising star, a young woman, died in a way that was unfathomable and shouldn’t have happened.

"She was an incredible talent and I think we’re all trying to understand how this could have happened."

Ms Hutchins' former colleague Adam Mortimer pays tribute on Good Morning Britain

Cinematographer and director Elle Schneider wrote on Twitter: "Sick and devastated to hear that my friend and rockstar cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on set today in New Mexico.

"I don't have words to describe this tragedy. I want answers. I want her family to somehow find peace among this horrific, horrific loss."

Deputies responded about 2pm to the film set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch after 911 calls came in of a person being shot on set, sheriff’s spokesperson Juan Rios said.

He said detectives were investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged.

“This investigation remains open and active,” Mr Rios said in a statement.

“No charges have been filed in regard to this incident. Witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives”.

Filming for Rust was set to continue into early November, according to a news release from the New Mexico Film Office.