Rust crew member challenges Baldwin’s tale of gun discharge

A member of the film crew for the movie “Rust” took issue with actor Alec Baldwin’s claims that he did not pull the trigger on the Colt .45 pistol, fatally killing the film’s director of photography and hurting his director.

In a statement Thursday, Senior Assistant Cameraman Lane Luper, through his Albuquerque attorney, denied Baldwin’s comments, just hours before a prime-time ABC show. Baldwin told ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos that he did not shoot the pistol during a rehearsal on October 21, killing Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.

“The trigger has not been pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger. No, no, no, no, no, “Baldwin told Stephanopoulos in a clip for” Alec Baldwin Unscripted. ” “I would never point a gun at someone and pull the trigger. Never.”

Although he was not on set on the day of the shooting, Luper, through his lawyer, Jacob G. Vigil, said Baldwin’s claims did not match.

“The guns don’t just go away. The Colt .45 single action revolver handled by Alec Baldwin required several active steps to unload and kill Halyna Hutchins, ”Luper said in the statement. “The weapon had to be loaded with live ammunition, held and pointed, the hammer of the weapon cocked manually and the trigger drawn. It was not a magic automatic fire weapon.

The dispute comes amid an investigation by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, an FBI analysis of the weapons and ammunition involved in the shooting, and two civil lawsuits filed by two other members of the team “Rust” who alleged that lax security protocols by producers, including Baldwin, and the hiring of an inexperienced gunsmith put the entire team at risk.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office has scrutinized the actions of Baldwin as well as Deputy Director David Halls and 24-year-old gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez Reed as part of its investigation into the death of Hutchins.

Earlier Thursday, a lawyer for Halls corroborated Baldwin’s account in a TV clip posted to Twitter by ABC News.

“All the while Baldwin had his finger on the outside of the trigger guard, parallel to the barrel. [Halls] told me from day one he thought it was a dud, ”Halls lawyer Lisa Torraco told ABC News. “Until Alec said that, it was really hard to believe. But Dave told me from the very first day I met him that Alec hadn’t pulled that trigger.

Luper and six other members of the film crew resigned from “Rust” on October 20, the day before filming, citing issues with gun safety on set, failure to receive paychecks and refusal. requests for hotel rooms by crew members who lived in Albuquerque, about 50 miles from Bonanza Creek Ranch, where the western was being filmed.

Halls told investigators he did not check all cartridges in the gun before it was handed over to Baldwin – a major breach of safety protocol, according to an affidavit filed with the County Sheriff’s Office in Santa Fe.

Gutierrez Reed – who was responsible for overseeing safety and the use of guns on set – said on the day of the incident that she made sure that the ammunition intended for production consisted of “dummies” and did not include “hot” cartridges, according to the affidavit.

Luper and other members of the film crew arrived at Bonzana Creek Ranch before 6:30 a.m. on October 21. They previously told The Times that a production manager ordered them to leave the property, and they said they did as soon as they assembled their equipment from a camera truck. parked on the edge of the plateau.

“The production and its producers, including Baldwin, have taken shortcuts and endangered their entire team by not following industry safety rules,” Luper said in the statement.

Rust Movie Productions said in a statement the day after Hutchins’ death that it was unaware of any official safety complaints on the set and was conducting its own review and cooperating with authorities.

A representative for Baldwin could not immediately be reached for comment.

On Tuesday, a New Mexico judge authorized a search of the Albuquerque office of PDQ Arm & Prop LLC, which is owned by “Rust” arms supplier Seth Kenney. Santa Fe County Sheriff’s investigators on Wednesday said they had seized “miscellaneous.” .45 ammunition (suspected live), photographs, ammo box, Rust documents, ”according to an inventory sheet provided to The Times.

Kenney made a statement to The Times saying that neither he nor his company, PDQ Arm & Prop, supplied “Rust” with live ammunition.

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