‘Everything went wrong’: Experts layout mistakes in deadly movie set shooting

Local News

BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — Court records released on Friday said Alec Baldwin was handed a loaded gun by an assistant director, who indicated it was safe to use as a prop, just moments before the actor pulled the trigger. We now know that gun was loaded with real bullets.

Officials say the assistant director didn’t know about those live rounds.

FOX31’s Joshua Short has two different perspectives to help answer the question “what went wrong?”

Short spoke with theatrical firearms expert Steve Wolf and actor Chad Brummett.

“Everything went wrong,” Wolf said. “You have to make multiple mistakes in order to create a fatal injury with a firearm on a movie set.”

Wolf has worked on many movie sets with prominent actors. He said this all could’ve been avoided.

“The gun should’ve been a prop gun that has been modified so that you can’t put live ammo into it,” Wolf explained. “You should not have live ammo into it, only blanks should go into those guns and you don’t point it at someone.”

The firearms expert also wants people to know any type of round can be dangerous, even a blank one.

“Blanks can kill,” he said adding, “A blank round is a casing with a primer on the back and gun powder poured in there. When [it] is initiated, there’s a small explosion in the back, which lights the gun powder. If this happens close to you, that pressure wave can actually take a piece of your skull and push it through your brain, as the case when Jon Hexum shot himself on a movie set, using a blank gun.”

Brummett is quite familiar with that New Mexico set, having performed in several movies there. But he’s unfamiliar with an unfortunate tragedy such as this. 

Officials say Baldwin shot the gun that injured director Joel Souza and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and a search warrant revealed the gun had live rounds.

And now investigators are digging into the question, “what went wrong?”

“You’re taught to treat every weapon as if it’s loaded,” Brummett told FOX31’s Short via Zoom. “If there’s any sort of gunplay that’s going on, it needs to be treated as if they’re all live rounds.”

Brummett and Wolf both say there are usually armorers on movie sets who handle firearms to prevent tragedies such as this.

“It is always my experience on set that the armorers take great care and great caution so that something like this does not happen,” Brummett said.

Investigators continue to document a scene meant for just tv, but now it’s the center of a real-life tragedy.

“That’s the thought today, how long will they be shut down for the investigation but also just the emotional aspect that the crew, the cast, the producers, everyone involved has to deal with,” Brummett added.

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