Image source: ABC News video screenshot
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Alec Baldwin gave an interview to ABC News – the first time the actor has done so since the fatal shooting on the set of his movie "Rust." Baldwin was the one handling the gun that went off and lethally shot "Rust" cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. However, the actor declared in the ABC News interview that he isn't responsible for the shooting death of the 41-year-old mother.
Baldwin portrayed Harland Rust, an Old West outlaw who "sets out to rescue his 13-year-old grandson Lucas after he is sentenced to hang for an accidental murder and must go on the run from U.S. Marshal Wood Helm and bounty hunter Fenton 'Preacher' Lang," according to entertainment news site Screen Rant.
On the day of the deadly shooting, Baldwin claimed he spoke to Hutchins to go over the scene they would film that day for the low-budget Western movie, set in 1880s Kansas. In the scene, Baldwin's character is severely wounded but manages to draw his gun on two adversaries.
Baldwin said he was handed a .45 Colt revolver by Dave Halls — the film’s first assistant director. Halls allegedly told Baldwin, "This is a cold gun" — meaning the firearm was either empty or not loaded with live rounds.
Lisa Torraco, an attorney representing Halls, previously said it was not her client's responsibility to check the weapon for live ammunition and did not confirm whether Halls presented the gun to Baldwin.
"Whether or not he handed the firearm directly to Alec Baldwin at that moment or whether the armorer handed it directly to Alec Baldwin at that moment doesn't really matter because he didn't load it," Torraco said last month. "He's not responsible for checking it."
"What I can tell you is that expecting an assistant director to check a firearm is like telling the assistant director to check the camera angle or telling the assistant director to check sound or lighting," Torraco added. "That’s not the assistant director’s job. If he chooses to check the firearm because he wants to make sure that everyone is safe, he can do that."
Baldwin asserts that he was taking directions from Hutchins.
"This was a marking rehearsal," Baldwin told host George Stephanopoulos. "And [Hutchins] says to me, 'Hold the gun lower. Go to your right. OK, right there. All right, do that. Now show it a little bit lower.' And she's getting me to position the gun."
"She's guiding me through how she wants me to hold the gun for this angle," he continued. "I'm holding the gun where she told me to hold it, which ended up being aimed right below her armpit."
Baldwin said he needed to cock the gun, but not to fire it: "The trigger wasn't pulled. I didn't pull the trigger."
The actor noted, "I cock the gun. I go, 'Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?' And then I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun goes off. I let go of the hammer of the gun, the gun goes off."
The bullet struck both "Rust" director Joel Souza and Hutchins. Souza would recover from the gunshot wound, but Hutchins died on the day of the shooting, Oct. 21.
Baldwin recalled the shooting, "[Hutchins] goes down. I thought to myself, ‘Did she faint?' The notion that there was a live round in that gun did not dawn on me till probably 45 minutes to an hour later."
"At the very end of my interview with the sheriff's department … they said to me, 'We regret to tell you that [Hutchins] didn't make it,'" Baldwin said. "They told me right then and there."
Baldwin contended that he didn't pull the trigger of the gun. "I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them."
Steve Wolf, a movie armorer with more than 30 years of experience, questioned Baldwin's claims that he didn't pull the trigger.
"On a scale of one to 10? Zero," Wolf told the Wrap. "You know, guns don’t go up by themselves, right? It’s an inanimate object. It has no batteries. It has no timer. It has no web connection. It’s not a smart piece of equipment. It’s a very reliable device that shoots when you press the trigger, and it doesn’t shoot when you don’t press the trigger."
The Santa Fe Sheriff's Department is investigating the shooting and is waiting for results from the FBI on "how the gun could have been fired, whether that was just pulling back the hammer – which hits the firing pin – just pulling the trigger or both," according to Fox News.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza told Fox News, "Guns don't just go off. So whatever needs to happen to manipulate the firearm, he did that and it was in his hands."
Stephanopoulos noted that experts say never to point a gun at anyone, no matter what.
Baldwin responded, "Unless the person is the cinematographer who's directing me at where to point the gun for her camera angle. That's exactly what happened."
Last month, fellow actor George Clooney questioned whether the fatal shooting could have been averted by Baldwin.
"Every single time I’m handed a gun on the set — every time — they hand me a gun, I look at it, I open it, I show it to the person I’m pointing it to, I show it to the crew,” Clooney said during an appearance on the "WTF with Marc Maron" podcast. "Every single take. You hand it back to the armor when you’re done."
"Maybe Alec did that — hopefully he did do that," Clooney added. "But the problem is dummies are tricky because they look like real [rounds]. They got a little tiny hole in the back [from which] somebody’s [removed] the gunpowder."
Baldwin was bothered by Clooney's commentary on the deadly shooting.
"There were a lot of people who felt it necessary to contribute some comment to the situation, which really didn't help the situation at all," Baldwin griped. "If your protocol is you checking the gun every time, well, good for you. Good for you."
"My protocol was to trust the person that had the job," he scoffed. "And it worked up until this point."
Baldwin confidently proclaimed that he is not responsible for the death of Halyna Hutchins.
"Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn't even supposed to be on the property," Baldwin said. "Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can't say who that is, but I know it's not me."
Stephanopoulos asked Baldwin if he feels guilt in the tragic situation.
"No. No,” Baldwin replied. "I might have killed myself if I thought I was responsible, and I don't say that lightly."
The actor says the deadly incident has weighed on him.
"I have dreams about this constantly now," he said. "I go through my day, and I make it through the day. Then I collapse at the end of the day. Emotionally, I collapse."
Baldwin admitted his Hollywood career could be over, but alleges, "I couldn't give a s**t about my career any more."
He said this is the worst thing that's ever happened to him, adding, "Because I think back, and I think of what could I have done?"
After the shooting, Baldwin met with Hutchins’ widower, Matthew Hutchins, and his 9-year-old son he shared with Halyna.
"I didn't know what to say," Baldwin revealed. "[Matthew] hugged [me] and he goes, like, 'I suppose you and I are going to go through this together,' he said. And I thought, 'Well, not as much as you are.'"
Baldwin has been named in two civil lawsuits over the shooting, including one that argued the actor "played Russian roulette" by the way he handled the firearm.
Alec Baldwin: Unscripted l PART 1www.youtube.com
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Paul Sacca is a staff writer for Blaze News.