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Authorities to search Alec Baldwin's phone in "Rust" shooting investigation

Baldwin has described the killing of Halyna Hutchins as the worst thing that's ever happened to him
Baldwin has described the killing of Halyna Hutchins as the worst thing that's ever happened to him   -   Copyright  Seth Wenig/AP
By Tim Gallagher  with AP

US authorities have authorised a search warrant for actor Alec Baldwin’s phone in the latest development concerning a fatal shooting on the set of his upcoming western, “Rust”.

Baldwin, who was starring in and producing “Rust”, was holding a revolver which contained live rounds when it went off, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and seriously injuring director Joel Souza.

Baldwin maintains that it was Hutchins herself who asked him to point the gun just off camera and toward her armpit before it went off.

In a recent, tearful interview on network ABC Baldwin denied pulling the trigger, adding "I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them. Never.”

In the same interview Baldwin described his admiration for Hutchins and said the event was the worst thing that ever happened to him.

The “Rust” shooting which has attracted considerable controversy and Investigators have described ``some complacency'' in how weapons were handled on the New Mexico set.

What happened on the set of “Rust”?

In October this year actor Alec Baldwin fired a revolver during a "Rust" rehearsal which he believed was "cold" but contained live rounds.

AP Photo/Jae C Hong
The shooting happened in October on the set outside of Santa FeAP Photo/Jae C Hong

The incident has been plagued by rumours of union disputes, recriminations from key players, and lately lawsuits as Baldwin and others are set to be sued by a traumatised crew member.

The movie’s on-set armourer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was initially implicated, has previously claimed she is the victim of a set up.

Investigations now focus on where the live rounds, which industry experts have said should never have been on the set, came from. Police searched a property in Albuquerque, New Mexico earlier this month, which they believed to be connected to the ammunition supplied to the set.

It is said that the armourer on the film, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, loaded the gun with five dummy rounds on Oct. 21, but struggled to add a sixth round before a lunch break, when the revolver was locked in a truck. The final round was added after lunch when the gun was cleaned.

No charges have yet been brought.