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Rust crew member calls prop gun shooting 'the fault of negligence and unprofessionalism'

·4 min read
Rust crew member calls prop gun shooting 'the fault of negligence and unprofessionalism'

The gaffer and chief electrician on the movie Rust spoke out on Sunday over social media regarding the fatal prop gun shooting that took the life of the film's cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins.

Serge Svetnoy did not mince words when he shared his "opinion on why this has happened" in a Facebook post.

"It's the fault of negligence and unprofessionalism," he said. "The negligence from the person who was supposed to check the weapon on the site did not do this; the person who had to announce that the loaded gun was on the site did not do this; the person who should have checked this weapon before bringing it to the set did not do it. And the DEATH OF THE HUMAN IS THE RESULT! I'm sure that we had the professionals in every department, but one — the department that was responsible for the weapons."

Police haven't confirmed the allegations made by Svetnoy in his post, nor has there been any official finding of negligence to date.

Hutchins died from wounds sustained on the set of the Western film Rust on Thursday after a prop gun was discharged by actor Alec Baldwin during a rehearsal at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M.

According to affidavits executed by authorities obtained by EW, the rehearsal involved Baldwin "drawing his weapon and pointing the revolver towards the camera." The affidavits were filed in court as part of the application for a search warrant.

According to witness testimony recounted in the affidavits, the prop gun was handled by armorer Hannah Gutierrez before being given to assistant director Dave Halls, who yelled "cold gun" to pronounce the prop gun didn't have live rounds in it. However, the affidavits state that police were told Halls didn't know live rounds were in the prop gun when it was given to Baldwin.

Director Joel Souza was also injured by the shooting, though he was later released from hospital care.

Baldwin, having issued his own statement on the matter last week, said he's "fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred." Production has shut down "at least until the investigations are complete," per a statement from the Rust production company given to Variety.

Rust set shooting
Rust set shooting

Jae C Hong/AP/Shutterstock Set of the Western film 'Rust'

"I was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Halyna during this fatal shot that took her life and injured the director Joel Souza," Svetnoy wrote in his Facebook post. "I was holding her in my arms while she was dying. Her blood was on my hands."

Svetnoy further called on Hollywood producers to hire "professionals" for each department of film crews. The Los Angeles Times earlier reported that a dozen union crew members on Rust walked off the set in protest of unsafe working conditions and were then replaced by nonunion members. The police affidavits report that a camera crew quit the morning of the shooting "and they had to find another camera crew to film the movie."

"We have a fascinating and amazing job, but it's also dangerous," Svetnoy wrote. "We film in the mountains, in the open water, underwater. We have explosions, shooting guns, car crashes, electricity after all, and much more. To save a dime sometimes, you hire people who are not fully qualified for the complicated and dangerous job, and you risk the lives of the other people who are close and your lives as well. I understand that you always fight for the budget, but you cannot allow this to happen."

Police investigators haven't yet issued any comment or finding as to the qualifications of any of the crew members, on the alleged walkout by the union crew, or on the reasons why the production was staffed as it was.

Svetnoy's post added, "There should always be at least one professional in each department who knows the job. It is an absolute must to avoid such a tragedy, like the tragedy with Halyna."

Read Svetnoy's opinion in his full Facebook post above.

Representatives for Baldwin and the Rust production didn't immediately respond to to EW's requests for comment.

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