New details reveal Alec Baldwin was ‘practicing’ with gun before fatal shooting

Witnesses said actor Alec Baldwin was “practicing” with a gun when it went off before filming started on the set of “Rust” in New Mexico, according to new information released Sunday in search warrants.

The new information includes previously unreported statements from director Joel Souza and cameraman Reid Russell.

Hear the 911 call from the incident in the video above

Souza said Baldwin had been practicing Thursday when the gun went off, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, and injuring director Joel Souza, 48, according to the latest warrant information.

The cast and crew had taken a lunch break, and when they returned, Souza told authorities, he wasn’t sure if the firearm to be used by Baldwin had been checked anew for safety.

“Joel advised they returned back to the set after lunch, although he is not sure if the firearm was checked again,” the warrant states.

“Joel stated they had Alec sitting in a pew in a church building setting, and he was practicing a cross draw.

“Joel said he was looking over the shoulder of Halyna, when he heard what sounded like a whip and then loud pop.”

Halyna Hutchins (left) and Joel Souza.
Halyna Hutchins (left) and Joel Souza. Credit: Getty
Alec Baldwin is seen taking a phone call following the shooting.
Alec Baldwin is seen taking a phone call following the shooting. Credit: AP

The director said he vaguely remembers Hutchins’ reaction.

She was “complaining about her stomach and grabbing her midsection,” according to the warrant.

“Joel also said Halyna began to stumble backwards and she was assisted to the ground,” it said.

“Joel explained that he was bleeding from his shoulder and he could see blood on Halayna.”

Camera operator Russell told authorities none of this was captured on camera because the cast and crew were preparing for the scene.

Aerial footage of the set of Alec Baldwin’s film Rust in New Mexico.
Aerial footage of the set of Alec Baldwin’s film Rust in New Mexico. Credit: CNN

He also said he was unsure if the gun had been checked because he had left the area for five minutes for a break.

“Reid said Alec had been very careful, and brought up an instance when a scene was being filmed earlier,” the warrant states.

“Reid said Alec had made sure it was safe and that a child wasn’t near him when they were discharging a firearm during that scene.”

The production team behind the film also spoke out Sunday in a letter to cast and crew obtained by NBC News.

The team members said production on the western would be halted at least through the investigation by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, which is trying to determine how a gun with a lethal amount of ammunition got into Baldwin’s hands.

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