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A prop gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in an accidental shooting had allegedly been used for off-set target practice, according to a report by celebrity website TMZ.
Sources told the site the prop gun fired by Alec Baldwin on the set of the western movie Rust on Thursday had also been used to fire real bullets by crew members.
Some workers on the film believe a live round may have been in the chamber of the pistol when it was handed to Baldwin.
The Independent has been unable to verify the report, and Santa Fe Sheriff’s department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Details of the moments prior to the Thursday shooting were revealed in a search warrant application filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.
It stated the gun involved was handed to Baldwin by the film’s assistant director Dave Halls, who assured him it was safe as it didn’t contain live ammunition.
The gun was one of three that the film’s armourer, Hannah Gutierrez, had set on a cart outside the building where a scene was being acted, according to the records.
Halls allegedly 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. Ms 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.
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,’” Ms Mitchell told the Associated Press. “This woman is gone at the beginning of her career. She was an extraordinary, rare, very rare woman.”
Baldwin has 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 on Friday.
“My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”
Baldwin is reportedly cancelling all of his projects following the incident. His wife Hilaria Baldwin also shared a message of support for Ms Hutchins’s family on Instagram on Monday.
“My heart is with Halyna,” she wrote. “Her husband. Her son. Their family and loved ones. And my Alec. It’s said, ‘There are no words’ because it’s impossible to express the shock and heartache of such a tragic accident. Heartbreak. Loss. Support.”
Serge Svetnoy said he was standing “shoulder-to-shoulder” with Ms Hutchins when she was struck by a bullet fired from a prop gun on the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set.
“I was holding her in my arms while she was dying. Her blood was on my hands.”
Mr Svetnoy paid tribute to camera operator Reid Russell and the film’s chief medic Cherlyn Schaefer “who did everything she could to save Halyna’s life”.
He said he was devastated for Ms Hutchins’s husband Matt and for Baldwin, who would have to “live with the thought that he took the life” of another human.
In court documents released to the public, Mr Russell told authorities that Baldwin had been careful with weapons on the set of the film Rust before the accidental shooting.
He cited an instance when Baldwin made sure a child actor was not near him when a gun was being discharged.
On Monday, Donald Trump Jr begun selling T-shirts mocking Baldwin with the words: “Guns don’t kill people, Alec Baldwin kills people”.
Mr Trump posted an image to his Instagram page with a link to Mr Trump’s online website, where the T-shirt is being sold for $27.99.
He was one of several right-wing pundits who sought to blame Baldwin for the shooting, in an apparent attempt at retribution for his portrayal of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live.
She said the actor had spent “four years dedicated to painting Donald Trump and his supporters as evil murderers” before later deleting the post.
Hutchins, 42, worked as director of photography on the 2020 action film Archenemy starring Joe Manganiello.
She was a 2015 graduate of the American Film Institute and was named a “rising star” by American Cinematographer in 2019.
Agencies contributed to this report