Asserting that another individual had unintentionally loaded a live bullet into a revolver that went off in his hands during a scene rehearsal for a Western filming in New Mexico, the actor Alec Baldwin argued that he was not to blame for the fatal shooting of a cameraman on the set of the filming.
In Baldwin’s opinion, it is critical for investigators to figure out who placed a bullet in the pistol he fired, which was intended to be empty, and which murdered cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and critically wounded director Joel Souza and injured others.
Mr. Baldwin made the remarks during an emotional ABC News interview with George Stephanopoulos, marking the first time that Mr. Baldwin has spoken publicly about what transpired in October. Mr. Baldwin was visibly moved by the discussion. The actor’s account of the occurrence may lead to more examination of crew members and suppliers, as well as the issue of who was in charge of guns security during the low-budget production.
He also said in the interview, which was published in snippets on Wednesday, that when the pistol he was practising with on set of “Rust” accidentally discharged a live bullet that he did not squeeze the trigger of the gun to stop it from firing.
The deadly shooting occurred on October 21 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on a movie set that was built to seem like a church. Mr. Baldwin was practising drawing an old-fashioned handgun that he had been assured did not contain any live bullets when the weapon went off, killing the film’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, 42, and injuring the director, Joel Souza, 48, in the process.
Mr. Baldwin said that he was taken aback by what had occurred and that it took him at least 45 minutes after the rifle went off before he understood that it may have held a live cartridge.
As an aside, the actor said that he did not draw back the hammer of the pistol as much as he could before letting it go, which might have caused it to go off in an unexpected manner. As soon as I let go of the hammer, the pistol goes off.
Investigators are trying to figure out how a live bullet got into the pistol that Mr. Baldwin was training with, why the crew members who checked it on set missed it, and why the gun went off.
According to Mr. Baldwin’s attorney, the film’s assistant director, Dave Halls, who had been standing beside Mr. Baldwin inside the church set when the pistol went off, had no evidence to corroborate his claim that he had pulled the trigger.
Lisa Torraco, a lawyer for Mr. Halls, said on Thursday’s “Good Morning America” that Mr. Halls had informed her that “the whole time Baldwin was shooting, his finger was outside the trigger guard, parallel to the barrel.” She said that Mr. Halls had informed her that “from the beginning, he believed it was a misfire.”
He also said in the ABC interview that Mr. Halls had informed him soon before the incident, “This is a cold gun,” which is an industry phrase meaning that a handgun does not contain live bullets and is thus safe to use.
The suspect, Mr. Baldwin, has already been interrogated by authorities and is helping with the inquiry. Mr. Baldwin has been under a great deal of fire since the shooting. In connection with the incident, no one has been arrested or prosecuted, and the police have not assigned responsibility to anybody in particular.
Some firearms experts believe that if Mr. Baldwin had pushed back the revolver’s hammer and released it before it was completely cocked, the pistol, which was a single-action revolver, might have fired without his touching the trigger. However, they questioned whether the force generated would have been sufficient to fire the live bullet.
The investigators are attempting to ascertain if Mr. Kenney shipped real ammo as well as blanks and dummies, and they have investigated his Albuquerque firm, PDQ Arm & Prop., according to court filings filed on Tuesday.
According to court filings, Thell Reed, a firearms expert who has worked on and advised on a number of films, has admitted to police that he provided live rounds to Mr. Kenney for training purposes on another picture. Mr. Kenney has said that he did not provide live rounds to Mr. Reed. Mr. Reed, who happens to be the father of Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armourer on “Rust,” speculated that they may be the same as live bullets seen on the show.