In his emotional first sit-down interview since the tragedy, 63-year-old Baldwin told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos about the moments immediately after the gun fired, recalling what went through his head. Baldwin said that everyone was "horrified — they're shocked, it's loud."
"She goes down. I thought to myself, 'Did she faint?' The notion that there was a live round in that gun did not dawn on me till probably 45 minutes to an hour later," he said. "... No one could understand. Did she have a heart attack?"
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"I stood over her for 60 seconds, and she laid there kind of in shock," added Baldwin.
The actor said he was staging the scene with Hutchins during a marking rehearsal when it had happened. "She says to me, 'Hold the gun lower. Go to your right. Okay, right there. Alright, do that. Now show it a little bit lower.' And she's getting me to position the gun. She's guiding me through how she wants me to hold the gun for this angle. I'm holding the gun where she told me to hold it, which ended up being aimed right below her armpit."
He maintains that he did not pull the trigger, but he cocked the gun and "then I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun goes off." Baldwin added, "I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them."
Baldwin began the interview by saying that he was coming forward because he "felt there were a number of misconceptions, most of it from sources I really wouldn't concern myself about," since the day that Hutchins died on set of Rust.
He told Stephanopoulos, "I wanted to come to talk to you to say I would go to any lengths to undo what happened."
Baldwin has previously spoken out about the incident. In a statement posted to his official Twitter account one day after Hutchins' death, Baldwin spoke out about the shooting for the first time, writing, "There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours."
"I'm fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family," the 30 Rock alum continued. "My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna."
— ABC News (@ABC) December 3, 2021
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On Nov. 17, Baldwin and Rust producers were named in a lawsuit filed by script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, who was allegedly standing in the line of fire when the gun went off.
"Days before the shooting there were warning signs that there were dangerous conditions related to guns on the site, a camera operator had reported two gun discharges during a rehearsal in a cabin," Gloria Allred, Mitchell's lawyer, told reporters via SkyNews. "Important industry safety protocols designed to ensure firearms would be safely used were ignored and actions were taken that were against all industry norms."
Prior to Allred's statement to reporters, a Rust crew member spoke to PEOPLE about "red flags" they saw while watching the film's armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.
"There's a lot of times where her little cart that has her weapons — I've been on other shoots where they're very safe and professional," the crew member explained. "No one handles those weapons but the armorer and they keep them safe. … She just had them on a cart, unattended sometimes where anybody could grab it, tamper with it."
Gutierrez-Reed, 24, has since defended her work on the film. Last month, she said through her attorney Jason Bowles in a statement shared with PEOPLE that she did not think live bullets would end up on the Rust set "in a million years," and she did not know how they got there.
Mark Sagliocco/Getty Alec Baldwin
"Hannah Gutierrez-Reed would like to add a few points to the continuing narrative on the tragic events surrounding the shooting on the Rust set," Bowles stated. "First, Hannah was incredibly safety conscious and took her job very seriously from the moment she started on Oct. 4."
He added, "She did firearms training for the actors as well as Mr. Baldwin, she fought for more training days and she regularly emphasized to never point a firearm at a person. Never in a million years did Hannah think that live rounds could have been in the 'dummy' Round box. Who put those in there and why is the central question."
In the statement, Bowles said Gutierrez-Reed "kept guns locked up, including throughout lunch" on the day Hutchins was shot and killed. "She instructed her department to watch the cart containing the guns when she was pulled away for her other duties or on a lunch break," Bowles added.
"Hannah did everything in her power to ensure a safe set. She inspected the rounds that she loaded into the firearms that day. She always inspected the rounds. She did again right before handing the firearm to Mr. Halls, by spinning the cylinder and showing him all of the rounds and then handing him the firearm," Bowles stated. "No one could have anticipated or thought that someone would introduce live rounds into this set."
Next week, a two-hour 20/20 special will delve into the events ahead of the shooting on Rust and the investigations. The episode will air on Friday, Dec. 10, at 9:01 p.m. EST on ABC and be available to stream on Hulu the next day.