As a film crew and actors in Western garb prepared to rehearse a scene inside a wooden, chapel-like building on a desert movie ranch outside Santa Fe, assistant director Dave Halls stepped outside and grabbed a prop gun off a cart.
He walked back in and handed it to the film’s star, Alec Baldwin, assuring him it was safe to use because it didn’t have live ammo.
“Cold gun,” Halls yelled.
It wasn’t, according to court records made public Friday. Instead, when Baldwin pulled the trigger Thursday, he killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her.
The tragedy came nearly three decades after Brandon Lee, the son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, died in a similar case, and it prompted horrified questions about how it could have happened again.
The executive producer of ABC’s police drama “The Rookie” announced Friday the show would no longer use “live” weapons because the “safety of our cast and crew is too important.”
Details of the shooting at the ranch on Bonanza Creek Road were included in a search warrant application filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators were seeking to examine Baldwin’s blood-stained costume for the film “Rust,” as well as the weapon that was fired, other prop guns and ammunition, and any footage that might exist.
The gun was one of three that the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, had set on a cart outside the building where a scene was being acted, according to the records.
Halls grabbed the gun from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds, a detective wrote in the search warrant application.
It was unclear how many rounds were fired. Gutierrez removed a shell casing from the gun after the shooting, and she turned the weapon over to police when they arrived, the court records say.
Halls did not immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment. The Associated Press was unable to contact Gutierrez, and several messages sent to production companies affiliated with the film were not immediately returned Friday.
The film’s script supervisor, Mamie Mitchell, said she was standing next to Hutchins when she was shot.
“I ran out and called 911 and said ‘Bring everybody, send everybody,’ ” Mitchell told The Associated Press. “This woman is gone at the beginning of her career. She was an extraordinary, rare, very rare woman.”
Mitchell said she and other crew members were attending a private memorial service Friday night in Santa Fe.
Baldwin described the killing as a “tragic accident.”
“There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours. I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation,” Baldwin wrote on Twitter. “My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”