A new injury report obtained by the Wall Street Journal offers more insight into the fatal shooting on set of Alec Baldwin’s western film, Rust. The actor, 63, discharged a prop gun after he was told that it had no live rounds while on location in New Mexico on October 21, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza, who has since been discharged from the hospital. On-set medic Cherlyn Schaefer’s injury report provides details on the aftermath of the accident.
Injury reports are filed after all on-set injuries to share with unions and other organizations involved in the film, according to the report. Once Schaefer heard a “loud shot,” she reportedly asked, “Are we rehearsing? Because ‘fire in the hole’ wasn’t called,” referring to a phrase used on set to indicate the use of special effects for explosion sounds. When she heard “medic emergency,” she “ran” to the church on set for the first post-lunch scene, where she discovered Hutchins had been shot.
According to the injury report, Schaefer instructed the crew to apply pressure to Hutchins’ wound and call 911. She discovered two wounds and placed an oxygen mask on Hutchins’ face and began to check her vitals before she was placed on a gurney and flown to the University of New Mexico Hospital by helicopter. The cinematographer succumbed to her injuries. She was 42. A search warrant document filed shortly after the incident revealed that Alec and the assistant director who handed him the prop gun were not aware that it was loaded.
According to the affidavit filed in a Santa Fe court last week, the assistant director handed Alec the prop gun and yelled “cold gun” — an indicator that the weapon had no live rounds — prior to it being discharged. The prop gun was one of three that had been set up for filming. A previous report from the Los Angeles Times painted a bleak picture of a set riddled with problems prior to the accident, including accidental prop gun discharges and crew walking off set to protest poor working conditions.
The outlet reported that nonunion workers showed up to replace the crew who had left. A spokesperson for Rust‘s production company responded to the accidental charges in a statement issued to WSJ, saying, “Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down.”