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Alec Baldwin describes "Rust" shooting in emotional interview: "I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun goes off"

Alec Baldwin says he "didn't pull the trigger"
Alec Baldwin says he "didn't pull the trigger" 01:50

Alec Baldwin provided new details about the moments before and after a gun discharged on the set of the film "Rust" in an emotional interview that aired Thursday night. The actor said he had no idea there was a live round in the gun, and said he didn't realize it had killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza until hours after the incident.

Baldwin told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that in the moments before the shooting, he and Hutchins were going over camera angles for a scene involving a gun inside of the church on set, and Hutchins was instructing him to point the gun in the area of her armpit.

The actor reiterated that when he was handed the gun he was told it was cold. He said he was cocking the gun but not pulling the trigger as they rehearsed the scene.

"I cock the gun. I go, 'Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?'" Baldwin said. "And then I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun goes off. I let go of the hammer of the gun, the gun goes off."

He emphasized that he has never and would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger.

"I thought to myself, 'Did she faint?' The notion that there was a live round in that gun did not dawn on me until 45 minutes to an hour later," Baldwin said.

ABC News - George Stephanopoulos Has The First Exclusive Interview with Actor Alec Baldwin
ABC News' George Stephanopoulos has the first exclusive interview with actor Alec Baldwin, following the deadly shooting on the set of the film "Rust." George Stephanopoulos Productions produced the hour-long special. Jeff Neira/ABC via Getty Images

Immediately following the incident, Baldwin said he stood over Hutchins and she appeared to be conscious. When the medics arrived, they told them to leave the church. Hours later, as the sheriff's office was finishing its first interview with Baldwin, they showed him the bullet retrieved from Souza's shoulder and informed him that Hutchins had died.

Baldwin said Hutchins, who he did not know prior to "Rust," was loved and admired by people in the industry. "She was fantastic," he said.

In the wake of the shooting, crew members have alleged that producers skimped on safety procedures to save money, and two have filed civil lawsuits. Baldwin said he was not aware of any complaints regarding safety on set.

"Everybody there was having a positive experience," he said.

Baldwin said both armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and first assistant director David Halls — two people who he said he trusted to do the job — had handled the guns, although Gutierrez-Reed was in charge of them most of the time. Baldwin maintained that it was not his responsibility to ensure that the guns were safe.

"In terms of the handling of the gun, that day I did exactly what I've done every day on that movie," Baldwin said. "The actor's responsibility is to do what the prop armorer tells them to do."

Though he said he's devastated by what happened, Baldwin said he does not feel guilty and that he has been told by "people who are in the know" that it is "highly unlikely" he'll be criminally charged.

"Someone is responsible for what happened and I can't say who that is, but I know it's not me," he said.

Halyna Hutchins, director of photography for "Rust," is seen in this still image obtained from social media video.

He said that the only question that remains is how the live rounds got on set and into the gun. While the matter remains under investigation by local authorities, Baldwin said it is "overwhelmingly likely that it was an accident."

Baldwin also spoke about how the shooting has impacted his life and career, telling Stephanopoulos that he was sitting in a chruch pew and reflecting hours before the shooting. 

"This movie made me love making movies again," he said. "I really thought we were onto something."

Baldwin said his career no longer matters as much. He said he has plans to start another project in January, but is not sure if he wants to keep working.

"My family is all I have," he said. "I couldn't give a **** about my career anymore."

Shortly after the shooting, Baldwin had dinner with Hutchins' husband Matthew and his son.

"He was as kind as you can be," he said of Matthew. But Baldwin, who is a father to seven children, said he was devastated for the 9-year-old who lost his mother.

"And I think to myself, 'This little boy doesn't have a mother anymore,'" Baldwin said. "And there's nothing we can do to bring her back."

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