Detectives found loose and boxed ammunition, some of it in a fanny pack, at the New Mexico movie set of “Rust” after the fatal shooting of the Western’s cinematographer, according to a police search warrant inventory.
Three black revolvers and nine spent shell casings also were collected, according to the list filed with the Santa Fe Magistrates Court and released Monday.
The inventory adds no new specifics about the prop-gun shooting death of Halyna Hutchins by actor Alec Baldwin during a rehearsal Thursday with what Baldwin told authorities he thought was an unloaded pistol. But the scattered ammunition suggests a disorganized system for maintaining a dangerous prop.
Typically, ammunition would be kept in a single labeled box, veteran professional armorer Mike Tristano told The New York Times. “The fact that there is loose ammunition and casings raises questions about the organization of the armory department,” he said.
The police inventory didn’t specify whether what it labeled as “ammo” included live or dummy bullets, or blank cartridges.
Hutchins was killed by a “live single round,” The Los Angeles Times has reported. A “live” round on a movie set refers to a gun being loaded with some material, which could be a blank, that’s ready for filming, the Times noted.
The search warrant inventory listed two boxes of “ammo,” “loose ammo and boxes” and “a fanny pack w/ammo,” Reuters reported.
A previous police affidavit said first assistant director Dave Halls called out “cold gun” — meaning it was unloaded and safe — when he handed a pistol to Baldwin before the fatal shooting.
Baldwin was practicing drawing the weapon and pointing it at the camera when it fired, wounding Hutchins and director Joel Souza, witnesses told investigators. Hutchins was later pronounced dead. Souza is recovering after hospital treatment.
Halls had been accused in the past of unsafe practices. He was fired in 2019 from the set of the film “Freedom’s Path” after a crew member suffered a minor injury when a gun unexpectedly discharged, CNN reported Monday.
Before last week’s shooting, “Rust” camera operators had walked off the set to protest working conditions, including concerns about gun safety, the LA Times reported.
Five days before Hutchins was killed, Baldwin’s stunt double accidentally fired two live rounds after being told that the weapon didn’t have any ammunition in it, the newspaper reported, citing two crew members.
Investigators “are looking at everything that should have been followed, from safety standards on down,” Juan Rios, spokesperson for the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department, said Monday.