Alec Baldwin may have pulled the trigger: Four things we learned from the new Rust police files

The immediate aftermath of the deadly shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins has been laid bare in a new trove of evidence, including bodycam footage and private text messages.

Video taken by emergency services captures the moment paramedics desperately fought for Hutchins’ life, while other footage shows Alec Baldwin crying nearby after he fired the weapon.

What happened in the moments after

Paramedics are seen treating Hutchins laying flat on her back inside a church on the set of the film.

They shout “Halyna, stay with us” as Hutchins, who died that day at the age of 42, lies unresponsive on the floor.

Joel Souza, a director who was also struck by the live round, can be heard screaming and writhing in pain. Members of the production team stand in the background.

“Will you make sure no one else comes in here?” says one paramedic.

Outside, Baldwin was filmed surrounded by the crew while crying and saying “you have no idea how unbelievable this is and how strange this is”.

One officer comforts him: “She’s in good hands.”

Someone asks if her condition is life-threatening, to which police reply: “Enough to get air-lifted.”

Might Baldwin have pulled the trigger?

In a phone call with a police investigator in the days after the shooting, Baldwin explained that he pulled the gun’s hammer three-quarters of the way back before releasing it, at which point it discharged.

“I pull it out slow, we’re rehearsing. We’re not filming anything. I pull it out slow, turn, cock the pistol and ‘bang’ it goes off, and she hits the ground,” he said in an interview with police.

Detective Alexandria Hancock said that she attempted to explain to him at the time that if his “finger was on the trigger, and if he was pulling the hammer back with his thumb, his index finger may have still had enough pressure on the trigger for him to depress it”.

Baldwin claimed that the gun went off without him pulling the trigger in a later interview with ABC News.

He said he trusted the set armourer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, to hand him a “cold” – or unloaded – weapon, adding that she asked him if he wanted to check.

“We never had a problem, so I said, ‘no, I’m good’,” Baldwin said.

It remains unclear how live bullets made it into the gun.

Police told there were no safety issues

Baldwin told police there were no safety issues on the set of Rust as the crew had done “everything in the right way”.

He added that the team was “very safety conscious” and “safety with weapons is primary”.

But his statement appears to conflict with a scathing investigation by state occupational safety regulators, who last week issued Baldwin’s film company with the maximum fine for safety violations.

The New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau’s investigation found that officials did not appropriately respond to claims of misfires on set before the shooting.

Investigators also made public text messages and emails taken from the phones of crew members which show discussions on safety concerns before the shooting.

Sarah Zachry, the film’s prop master, referenced two accidental discharges, one involving a stunt man and the other of her aiming a gun near her feet.

Lane Luper, a camera crew member, sent an email to production leaders that proceedings are “often played very fast and loose” during scenes of gunfights.

There was a relaxed culture of gun use

Numerous parts of the evidence released by police pointed to a relaxed culture of gun use on the set.

In one message, Zachry told another crew member that Baldwin often wanted to use real weapons on set.

“Alec never liked anything fake like guns and even the rubber knife,” she told another crew member. “He always wanted the real knife, but eventually I gave him the rubber without him knowing. He always wanted his real gun.”

Gutierrez-Reed denied bringing live ammunition onto the set. Previous messages sent during an earlier shoot speak to her apparent willingness to use them.

While working on the film The Old way, she sent weapons provider Seth Kenney messages asking if she could “shoot hot rounds out of the trap door”, according to the report.

“Wtf is a hot round?” Kenney responds, to which Gutierrez-Reed said: “Like a pretty big load of actual ammunition.”

The report says that Kenney advised her to “never shoot live ammo out of TV or movie guns, and to only use blanks”.

“It’s a serious mistake, always ends in tears,” he said.

“Good to know, I’m still gonna shoot mine tho,” Gutierrez-Reed replied.

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