Speed Reads

'there's only question to be resolved'

Alec Baldwin says he 'didn't pull the trigger' in Rust shooting, isn't responsible for cinematographer's death

Alec Baldwin gave his first public accounting of what happened in the fatal Oct. 21 incident on the New Mexico set of his low-budget Western, Rust, in an intense interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos that aired Thursday night. He said he was devastated and baffled at the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and the non-fatal injury of director Joel Souza resulting from a gun going off, but not culpable. 

"Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can't say who that is, but it's not me," Baldwin said.

The gun went off when they were blocking a scene in a church, and Hutchins told him to point the purportedly empty gun at her, Baldwin said. "I'm holding the gun where she told me to hold it, which ended up being aimed right below her armpit, is what I was told," he said. "I let go of the hammer of the gun, the gun goes off."

"The trigger wasn't pulled — I didn't pull the trigger," Baldwin clarified. "I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them, never. That was the training that I had: You don't point a gun at somebody and pull the trigger." Also, "the gun was supposed to be empty, I was told I was handed an empty gun," he added. "The notion that there was a live round in that gun did not dawn on me till probably 45 minutes to an hour later." 

Baldwin said he didn't learn Hutchins was dead or the gun was loaded with a live bullet until the end of his 90-minute interview with law enforcement later that day.

Baldwin also responded to criticism that he should have checked the gun himself, saying he was trained to let the prop master or armorer do that, but that things are different now, though "I can't imagine I'd ever do a movie that had a gun in it again." In the end, he said, "there's only question to be resolved, only one, and that is: Where did the live round come from?"

In the first part of the interview, Baldwin talked about filming Rust, and said he had not seen or heard about any safety red flags on the set. He told Stephanopoulos he met with armorer Hanna Gutierrez Reed for a gun training session, and she seemed competent. "I assumed because she was there and she was hired that she was up to the job," he said.