Newly released police report reveals 'Rust' director Joel Souza's first account of fatal shooting

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Santa Fe police speak at a press conference.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza speaks during a press conference at the Santa Fe County Public Safety Building to update members of the media on the shooting accident on the set of the movie "Rust" at the on October 27, 2021 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.Sam Wasson/Getty Images
  • The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office released new documents related to the October "Rust" shooting.

  • The documents include police incident reports from the day of the fatal incident.

  • Two people were shot, one fatally, on the set of the western starting Alec Baldwin.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday released a police investigator's account of an interview with "Rust" director Joel Souza as he lay in a hospital bed hours after the fatal shooting incident on the set of the country-western film.

According to the October 21 report, Souza — who was being interviewed while he still had a projectile lodged in his shoulder — described having "remembered a movie worker or armorer handling guns prior to [beginning] to film the gun fight scene."

The director said he "thought he heard someone say the gun was 'cold," meaning unloaded, "but was not sure," according to the report. He then heard "a loud bang which didn't sound like a blank round."

"Joel stated he fell backwards, looked forward and saw one of the other member[s] of the production crew bleeding," the report states.

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Contributed to DocumentCloud by Insider Staff (Insider Inc.) • View document or read text

That other crew member was likely Halyna Hutchins, the film's cinematographer, who was killed during the filming of a scene with actor Alec Baldwin, who said he did not know the firearm he was using was loaded.

A separate report released Tuesday describes Hutchins as "suffering an injury to her right underarm area and her left back area." When police arrived, they encountered what appeared to be defibrillator pads over her heart. She was described as "breathing irregularly and her eyes were glassy and were locked into a stare."

In a statement days after the shooting, Souza said he was "gutted by the loss of my friend and colleague."

Baldwin also described Hutchins as a "friend," telling members of the media that he was interested in pursuing an effort to "limit the use of firearms on film sets."

In an early November statement to People, the attorney for armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed released said, "First, Hannah was incredibly safety conscious and took her job very seriously from the moment she started on Oct. 4."

"She did firearms training for the actors as well as Mr. Baldwin, she fought for more training days and she regularly emphasized to never point a firearm at a person," the statement said. "Never in a million years did Hannah think that live rounds could have been in the 'dummy' Round box. Who put those in there and why is the central question."

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