Rust director describes moment he was shot by Alec Baldwin – and reveals what armourer said to him

By John Mercury March 3, 2024

A film director has described the moment he was shot by actor Alec Baldwin on the set of Rust – and revealed what the movie’s armourer said to him immediately afterwards.

Baldwin, lead actor and co-producer of the film, was holding the gun when it fired and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on set near Santa Fe on 21 October 2021.

Rust director Joel Souza was hit by the same bullet that killed Ms Hutchins but did not pursue any legal action.

Weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed is on trial charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Baldwin, 65, faces a separate trial on the same charges in July. Both have pleaded not guilty, with Baldwin claiming he never pulled the trigger.

Called to testify at Gutierrez-Reed’s trial on Friday, Mr Souza recalled that he moved behind Ms Hutchins to get a closer look at the camera angle – but never saw the gun that shot him.

Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin on set of Rust

“I got up behind her just to try to see on the monitor and there was an incredibly loud bang,” he told the court. “This was deafening.”

Describing the moment he saw Gutierrez-Reed after he was shot, he added: “I remember her saying ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry Joel’.

“And I remember somebody just screaming at her and they just ushered her out.”

Defendant Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, former armorer on the set of the movie "Rust", walks back to her seat after speaking with District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer before her trial at District Court, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Santa Fe, N.M. Gutierrez-Reed is charged with involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence in the October 2021 death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during the filming of the Western. (Luis Sánchez Saturno/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP, Pool)
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed in court on 26 February. Pic: AP

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On Thursday, jurors were shown footage of Baldwin waving a gun before the shooting.

They also heard from assistant director David Halls, who last year entered a plea bargain for negligent use of a deadly weapon, receiving a six-month suspended sentence.

David Halls, former first assistant director on Rust, gives evidence during the trial of armourer Hannah Gutierrez in New Mexico. Pic: Gabriela Campos/Santa Fe New Mexican/AP
First assistant director David Halls. Pic: AP

He was emotional at times as he told the court: “I was negligent checking the gun properly.”

His testimony also included an account of standing around a metre away from Ms Hutchins when the single gunshot rang out. As she was on the ground, he asked if she was all right.

“She said, ‘I can’t feel my legs’,” he said.

Halls said he struggled to understand how a live round could have been fired. “The idea that it was a live round of ammunition that went off… it wasn’t computing,” he said.

Halls also defended Baldwin, saying the actor did not endanger safety by rushing production, as prosecutors allege.

Lawyers for Gutierrez-Reed say problems on the set were beyond her control. Prosecutors say she is to blame for bringing live ammunition on set, which is against the law.

The trial continues.


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