#VOA. | two people at the heart of the investigation

Hit in the chest after Mr. Baldwin triggered a weapon used as a prop for the film “Rust”, according to a preliminary investigation report consulted by AFP, Halyna Hutchins was transported by helicopter to a hospital in New Mexico , where his death was pronounced.

The director Joel Souza, injured in the shoulder during the shooting and in convalescence, said Saturday “devastated by the loss of (his) friend and colleague”, in a statement sent to the Deadline site.

“She was caring, full of life, incredibly talented,” he added.

The role of movie gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez Reed, 24, comes under close scrutiny by investigators as she was the one who, according to the report, prepared the gun with which the actor fired the fatal shot . She had placed it on a cart with two other weapons.

Assistant director Dave Halls, described as a seasoned professional, then handed this gun to Mr. Baldwin during a rehearsal for a scene in the film, informing him that it was “cold”. – say unloaded from a real bullet in cinematic jargon.

Mr. Halls was “unaware that the gun was loaded with live ammunition,” said an agent from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office in New Mexico.

After the shot, Ms Gutierrez Reed was given the weapon and collected the used cartridge, before handing them over to the police on their arrival, the report said.

No prosecution has yet been initiated, a spokesperson for the sheriff said on Friday.

– “Stupor” –

As the accidental thesis seemed privileged, Alec Baldwin remained at large after being questioned.

A search warrant was issued by a judge on Friday, authorizing law enforcement to seize equipment related to the shooting as well as weapons and ammunition used as props, and clothing worn by the actor and the rest of the team during the drama.

“Words fail me to express my amazement and sadness after the tragic accident which killed Halyna Hutchins,” the 63-year-old actor tweeted on Friday, assuring “to cooperate fully in the investigation”.

On the night of Friday to Saturday, the comedian also retweeted an article from Variety whose title indicates that he had been “informed that the weapon-accessory was safe before the fatal shot”, without adding a comment.

The film “Rust”, which has been suspended indefinitely, is a western written and directed by Joel Souza.

Alec Baldwin, co-producer of the film, takes the lead role of an outlaw who fled with his 13-year-old grandson when the latter was sentenced, following an accidental homicide, to hanging for murder.

– “Responsible” –

The phone call from a member of the team to the emergency number of the emergency services (911) also seems to confirm the existence of tensions on the set of this low-budget film.

Asked by the operator of 911 on the presence of live bullets in the weapon, this unidentified woman replied, according to the recording made public: “I can not tell you … And this bastard assistant director who yelled at me at lunch, (…) he’s supposed to check the guns, he’s responsible for what happens on the “film set.”

Six members of the film’s technical team had also left the set several hours before the tragedy, according to the Los Angeles Times, to protest against their working and safety conditions.

A weapon used as an accessory on set had in fact been accidentally fired at least twice before Thursday’s accident, according to anonymous sources quoted by the newspaper, which did not specify whether it was the same weapon. .

Asked about this by AFP, the production company did not react.

Ms. Gutierrez Reed, who has not spoken publicly since the drama, confided in a podcast in early September that she had hesitated to work on her previous film, “The Old Way” with Nicolas Cage, not being “sure to be ready “, but she added that the shooting then” went very well “.

Alec Baldwin has made himself particularly popular in the United States in recent years by his imitations of Donald Trump on the famous satirical show “Saturday Night Live”.

His reputation, tarnished by a very acrimonious divorce in the early 2000s, had been revived at the end of the decade by the success of the comic series “30 Rock”, where he played a studio boss opposite Tina Fey, which had earned him two Emmy Awards, equivalent to the Oscars for American television.

Halyna Hutchins, born in Ukraine and living in Los Angeles, was considered a rising star of American cinema.

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Source: VOA-AFP.

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