Film director shot by Alec Baldwin says it felt like being hit by bat

2 March 2024, 04:44

Alec Baldwin Set Shooting
Alec Baldwin Set Shooting. Picture: PA

Mr Baldwin, the lead actor and co-producer on Rust, was separately indicted by a grand jury last month.

A movie director who survived being shot by Alec Baldwin during a movie rehearsal told a court he was approaching the film’s cinematographer when he heard a loud bang and felt the bullet’s impact.

“It felt like someone had taken a baseball bat to my shoulder,” said Joel Souza, who was wounded by the same bullet that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set for the upcoming Western movie Rust on October 21 2021.

Mr Souza never filed a complaint, but was called to testify as prosecutors pursue charges of involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence against movie weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who maintains her innocence.

Mr Baldwin, the lead actor and co-producer on Rust, was separately indicted by a grand jury last month. He has pleaded not guilty and a trial is scheduled for July.

Alec Baldwin-Shooting-Trial Date
Alec Baldwin (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

Mr Souza said his work day began before dawn with the realisation that six camera crew members had walked off set. Ms Hutchins put out urgent calls for replacements and filming was back underway by late-morning in an outdoor scene involving horses and wagons.

Work after lunch started with positioning a camera in preparation for an extreme close-up take of Mr Baldwin drawing a gun from a holster inside a makeshift church.

Mr Souza said he moved in behind Ms Hutchins for a closer look at the camera angle, but never saw the gun that shot him.

“I got up behind her just to try to see on the monitor, and there was an incredibly loud bang,” Mr Souza said. “This was deafening.”

Mr Baldwin and his handling of firearms on set are coming under special scrutiny in questioning by prosecution and defence attorneys.

On Thursday, prosecutors played video footage of Mr Baldwin pressuring the movie armourer to hurry up as she reloads guns between scenes.

“One more, let’s reload right away,” Mr Baldwin says at the close of a scene. “Here we go, come on. We should have had two guns and both were reloading.”

Baldwin Set Shooting
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed (Luis Sánchez Saturno/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)

Ms Gutierrez-Reed can be seen quickly loading a revolver.

Bryan Carpenter, a Mississippi-based specialist in firearms safety on film sets, said Mr Baldwin’s commands infringed on basic industry safety protocols and responsibilities of the armorer.

“He’s basically instructing the armourer on how to do their job… ‘Hurry up, give it to me fast,’” Mr Carpenter said.

“Rushing with firearms and telling someone to rush with firearms is not normal or accepted.”

On Friday, defence attorney Jason Bowles pressed Mr Souza to remember whether the script explicitly called for Mr Baldwin to point the gun toward the camera, where he and Ms Hutchins were standing.

“And do you know whether, from the script, whether that firearm was supposed to be pointed towards the camera?” Mr Bowles asked.

“It’s not a matter of the script, really. For that specific shot, it was literally supposed to be the gun being pulled out sideways,” Mr Souza said.

Prosecutors say Ms Gutierrez-Reed is to blame for unwittingly bringing live ammunition on set and that she flouted basic safety protocols for weapons — partly by leaving the church rehearsal while a gun still was in use.

Defence attorneys say it was not Ms Gutierrez-Reed’s decision to leave.

Mr Souza said he only recalled seeing Ms Gutierrez-Reed inside the church after he was shot.

“I remember at one point looking up and her standing there… distraught,” Mr Souza said.

“I remember her saying, ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Joel’. And I remember somebody just screaming at her, and they just ushered her out.’”

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

The Israeli Iron Dome air defence system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran

Israel hails ‘success’ in blocking Iran’s unprecedented attack

Joe Biden has reaffirmed the US's commitment to defending Israel's security.

Biden reaffirms ‘ironclad commitment’ to Israel as he plans G7 meeting to coordinate ‘diplomatic response to Iran attack’

The IDF said over 300 weapons were fired by Iran.

‘Together we will win’: Netanyahu vows to fight off attacks from Iran after over 300 drones and missiles fired at Israel

Israeli's military have fought off a massive Iranian drone and missile attack - downing more than 200 weapons launched by the hostile state with the help of ace RAF pilots.

Israel fights off massive Iran attack - downing over 200 missiles and drones with help of RAF

Plans have been drawn up for an evacuation of Brits from the Middle East. Defence Secretary Grant Shapps (l) and protesters outside the British Embassy in Tehran (r)

Brits living in the Middle East could be rescued by the Royal Marines in 'Dunkirk-style' evacuation

The knifeman who killed six people in a rampage at a Sydney shopping centre has been named as 40-year-old Joel Cauchi (left)

Pictured: Sydney knifeman, 40, who killed six people before being shot dead by brave policewoman

Iranian drones and missiles have arrived in Israel with explosions in the skies - as officials warn of a "significant response" to the massive attack.

Explosions in skies and sirens across Jerusalem amid Iranian attack - as Israel warns of 'significant response'

USS Bataan which is heading to the Eastern Mediterranean (main) and Joe Biden (r)

US sends amphibious warship and 2,500 Marines into the Eastern Mediterranean after Iran attacks Israel

US and UK forces are helping defend Israel from Iranian drones and missiles after a massive attack was launched.

British and American jets 'shoot down Iranian drones' as Rishi Sunak slams Iran for 'reckless' attack against Israel

President Biden is holding an emergency national security meeting as the US prepares its response to Iran's drone and missile attack on Israel.

President Biden holds high-stakes emergency meeting as Iran launches full-scale attack on Israel

Iron Dome Rocket Interceptions of Hamas Rockets- Southern Israel- Night Attack On Ashdod City

Israel closes airspace as it braces for Iranian drone attack

Iranian attack drones are 'en route to Israel', according to an Israeli Defence Force spokesperson.

Iran launches massive drone and missile attack on Israel as war in Middle East escalates

A mother who was stabbed while trying to defend her baby from the Sydney shopping centre knifeman has been pictured for the first time.

Pictured: Mother, 38, killed defending her baby from Sydney shopping centre massacre

Election 2024 Decision Notes Alaska Wyoming

Biden wins Wyoming’s caucuses as eyes turn to Alaskan democrats

Hormuz incident

Iranian forces seize container ship near Strait of Hormuz

Russia Ukraine

Ukraine military chief warns of ‘significantly’ worsening battlefield situation