‘Rust’ Director Joel Souza Recalls Alec Baldwin Shooting Scene At Armorer Trial

‘Rust’ Director Joel Souza Recalls Alec Baldwin Shooting Scene At Armorer Trial

On Friday, the court concluded their second week of witness testimony in the case of former “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence in connection with the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Friday focused primarily on the scene in which actor Alec Baldwin pulled the gun, which resulted in injuries to Hutchins and director Joel Souza, who had been standing behind the cinematographer inside the church.

Previous accounts say that the armorer had not been in the church at the time of the shooting; however, while on the stand, Souza testified that he did not recall.

‘Rust’ Director Joel Souza Says Script Didn’t Call For Alec Baldwin To Point Gun At Camera

Alec Baldwin poses with gun and ammo in newly released Rust rehearsal videoMEGA

On Friday, director Joel Souza testified that he did not have much experience working with armorers in the past. The director was actually standing behind Halyna Hutchins when the gun went off and struck him. Souza told prosecutor Kari Morrissey that he was actually arguing with the hospital staff after they had told him that he had been shot because he found it so impossible to believe.

During cross-examination, he told lawyer Jason Bowles that he did not review the SAG-AFTRA rules when it comes to firearm safety and admitted that he did not know that, if the armorer was not present, then the first assistant director would take over duties of gun safety. David Halls, who testified on Thursday, had pleaded guilty to negligent use of a firearm. He said that he remembered that Halls called a “cold gun” – meaning a gun without live ammunition – but thought that it was before lunch.

While talking about rehearsing the scene, Souza said that for the specific scene, the gun was supposed to be drawn. He said that it was not in the script for the gun to be pointed at the camera. The “insert shot,” which they were filming, was only supposed to be drawing the gun to build tension. He said that there was no scene when anyone was cycling ammunition through the rifle or loading their guns.

David Halls Says Plea Agreement Did Not Force Him To Testify

Alec Baldwin sits down with police for interview following Rust shootingMEGA

Although Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and Alec Baldwin were charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in January 2023, first assistant director David Halls reached a plea agreement. On Thursday, he said that the terms of his agreement did not force him to testify during her trial but wanted Hutchins’ family to know the “truth” about what happened on set.

“It’s important to me that the truth be known, that Halyna’s husband and son know what happened. It’s important to me that the cast and crew of ‘Rust’ know what happened, and that the television and film industry know what happened so that this doesn’t happen again,” he said, as per The Independent.

During his recollection of events, he said, “The idea that it was a live round of ammunition that went off…it wasn’t computing,” and originally thought that a blank went off. He saw Hutchins fall to the ground three feet to his left and recalled her saying, “I can’t feel my legs.” At that point, Halls left the church to make sure someone called 911.

Key Rigging Grip Recalls Halyna Hutchins’ Final Moments

Police release photos from the set of Rust after fatal shootingMEGA

Earlier in the day, key rigging grip John Ziello recalled Halyna Hutchins’ final moments. Although he was not in the church when the gun went off, he ran inside and started to push pews in the church away to make room for the paramedics. He became visibly distraught when he recalled how he had held her head and neck to assist paramedics.

He also testified that he saw guns left unattended on set on the ammunition cart on at least two different instances. He said that would typically not occur on a film set due to “chain of custody” protocols around firearm safety.

At one point, he claims that he saw an actor “playing with” one of the guns and half-jokingly said, “Hey man, don’t shoot me.” He noted that Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was not present to witness this exchange or monitor the firearms around them.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed has pleaded not guilty to both charges but could face 18 months in prison if convicted.