The prop gun used by Alec Baldwin on the set of 'Rust' that accidentally killed the film's cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was reportedly filled with live bullets and used by the crew to shoot beer cans earlier in the morning before the incident. An insider on conditions of anonymity told The Wrap that there were several prop guns that were used by the crew members for fun and target practice.
The source told the outlet that several crew members on the film's Santa Fe set had taken several prop guns out on the morning of the incident to go "plinking" - a hobby in which people shoot at beer cans with live ammunition to pass the time. This means the live rounds were placed by the film's crew.
The source told The Wrap that Just hours before the fatal accident, a few crew members took multiple prop guns and went "plinking," while others were busy preparing for the day's shoot. The round of unsanctioned target practice ultimately resulted in the tragedy. At least one of the guns were left with live rounds which was then used by Baldwin, who discharged it while filming a scene that ended up in killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.
The source also claimed that when police arrive on the scene following the shooting, they found live ammo and blank rounds stored in the same area that had been the site of the target practice. However, authorities haven't confirmed this claim.
According to the search warrant that was released on Tuesday, authorities recovered nine shell casings on reaching the set after Baldwin unknowingly fired a live round that fatally struck Hutchins in the chest and Souza in the shoulder.
Who Was At Fault?
It has been a subject of debate since the incident that who is to be held responsible for the tragedy. Just before the accident happened, first assistant director David Halls before handing the prop gun to Baldwin said that it was a "cold gun," a term used by filmmakers to indicate that a prop gun is safe to handle and not loaded with live ammunition.
Prior to that the film's head armorer laid three prop guns on a cart and was confident that they were safe for use. Also, Baldwin has been held responsible for breaking the thumb rule of shooting by point the gun at the camera.
It is at this point, the insider reveals, that a group of crew members took the weapons without the director and first director's knowledge, and forgot to unload the firearm in question.
Although safety was a concern from the beginning, reps for Rust Productions have maintained that safety was the "top priority." "Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down," the production said in a statement to The Wrap.