Cherlyn Schaefer: 'Rust' medic thought Halyna Hutchins' killing was 'scene rehearsal'
Shocking new details have emerged about the accidental shooting of Ukrainian cinematographer Halyna Hutchins by actor Alec Baldwin, on the set of his upcoming movie 'Rust'. Hutchins, who tragically died on October 21, 2021, was hit by a bullet from Baldwin's 'prop gun' which apparently misfired. New details about the incident have now emerged from the report of on-set medic Cherlyn Schaefer. She had mentioned "something was shot from a prop gun" in the report while describing the cause of the incident.
Schaefer further added that she initially mistook the loud shot as part of a scene rehearsal, because "fire in the hole" was not called. The phrase is generally used in the case of imminent explosive detonation or firearm usage in a confined space. The accidental shooting, which took place inside the Bonanza Creek Ranch church in Santa Fe, eventually claimed the life of Halyna Hutchins and also injured movie director Joel Souza.
On Thursday, October 21, medic Cherlyn Schaefer was present on the set all along, as mandated by production policy. When she heard an unexpected "loud shot" from a distance during the shooting, she was confused and inquired, "Are we rehearsing?" Soon afterward, she heard someone alerting about a medical emergency. When she rushed to the shooting spot, Schaefer found 42-year-old Hutchins with a bullet wound in her torso.
While she waited for EMTs to arrive at the scene, Schaefer desperately tried to save Hutchins' life. She ordered other crew members to keep applying pressure to her wound while another group was tasked with calling 911. Meanwhile, Schaefer checked for Hutchins' vital signs and gave her oxygen through a mask. She was later escorted to a hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she was pronounced dead.
According to a report citing court documents, the gun with live rounds was one of the three weapons that the film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, had set on a cart outside the wooden structure while a scene of 'Rust' was being enacted. Assistant director Dave Halls then picked it up from there, brought the gun to Alec Baldwin, at the time unaware that it was loaded with live rounds, the detective's notes read. Halls announced a "cold gun" when he brought it to Baldwin and told the actor that the firearm was safe for use, according to the warrant filed in Santa Fe, Arizona.
Halls reportedly had a history of complaints against him ranging from disregard for firearm safety protocols to inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace. In 2019, he was the subject of complaints about safety and his behavior on set during two productions. Two people who worked closely with him told CNN that the complaints against Halls include a disregard for safety protocols for weapons and pyrotechnics use, blocked fire lanes and exits, and instances of inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.