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Crew Members Agitated Gun Safety Measures on Rust Set Before Alec Baldwin’s Misfiring Accident

New report shows that crew members of the set of “Rust” were concerned about gun safety issues days before fatal shooting on set.

The LA Times noted that half a dozen members of the  camera crew had walked off the set hours before Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer on the New Mexico set of  with a prop gun.

The camera operators and their assistants were frustrated by the conditions surrounding the low-budget film, including complaints about long hours, long commutes and waiting for their paychecks, according to three people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to comment.

According to sources, safety protocols standard in the industry were not adhered to on the “Rust” set near Santa Fe. They said at least one of the camera operators complained last weekend to a production manager about gun safety on the set.

Three crew members who were present at the Bonanza Creek Ranch set on Saturday said they were particularly concerned about two accidental prop gun discharges.

Baldwin’s stunt double accidentally fired two rounds Saturday after being told that the gun was “cold” — lingo for a weapon that doesn’t have any ammunition, including blanks — two crew members stated.

“There should have been an investigation into what happened,” a crew member said. “There were no safety meetings. There was no assurance that it wouldn’t happen again. All they wanted to do was rush, rush, rush.”

A colleague was so alarmed by the prop gun misfires that he sent a text message to the unit production manager. “We’ve now had 3 accidental discharges. This is super unsafe,” according to a copy of the message reviewed by The Times.

“The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company, ” Rust Movie Productions said in a statement. “Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down. We will continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and offer mental health services to the cast and crew during this tragic time.”

The tragedy occurred Thursday afternoon during filming of a gunfight that began in a church that is part of the old Western town at the ranch. Baldwin’s character was supposed to back out of the church, according to production notes obtained by The Times. It was the 12th day of a 21-day shoot.

Cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins was huddled around a monitor lining up her next camera shot when she was accidentally killed by the prop gun fired by Baldwin.

The actor was preparing to film a scene in which he pulls a gun out of a holster, according to a source close to the production. Crew members had already shouted “cold gun” on the set. The filmmaking team was lining up its camera angles and had yet to retreat to the video village, an on-set area where the crew gathers to watch filming from a distance via a monitor.

Baldwin removed the gun from its holster once without incident, but the second time he did so, ammunition flew toward the trio around the monitor. The projectile whizzed by the camera operator but penetrated Hutchins near her shoulder, then continued through to Souza. Hutchins immediately fell to the ground as crew members applied pressure to her wound in an attempt to stop the bleeding.

Shooting began on Oct. 6 and members of the low-budget film said they had been promised the production would pay for their hotel rooms in Santa Fe.

But after filming began, the crews were told they instead would be required to make the 50-mile drive from Albuquerque each day, rather than stay overnight in nearby Santa Fe. That rankled crew members who worried that they might have an accident after spending 12 to 13 hours on the set.

Hutchins had been advocating for safer conditions for her team and was tearful when the camera crew left, said one crew member who was on the set.

“She said, ‘I feel like I’m losing my best friends,’” recalled one of the workers.

As the camera crew — members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees — spent about an hour assembling their gear at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, several nonunion crew members showed up to replace them, two of the knowledgeable people said.

One of the producers ordered the union members to leave the set and threatened to call security to remove them if they didn’t leave voluntarily.

“Corners were being cut — and they brought in nonunion people so they could continue shooting,” the knowledgeable person said.

The shooting occurred about six hours after the union camera crew left.

No charges have been filed, but the Sheriff’s Office said that “witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives.”

Baldwin said Friday that he was “fully cooperating with the police investigation” into the incident.

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