NEW YORK – Alec Baldwin said the only issue that mattered in the shooting that killed a cameraman on set in New Mexico was how the bullet ended up in the gun.
“There’s only one question that needs to be addressed, and that’s where the live round comes from?” Baldwin said in an ABC interview with George Stephanopoulos that aired on Thursday night, the actor spoke in depth on screen for the first time about the October 21 scene on the set of “Rust” in the West.
Baldwin said in a clip from the interview published Wednesday that he didn’t pull the trigger of the gun he was holding but shot dead cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza.
“I didn’t pull the trigger,” Baldwin told Stephanopoulos. “I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger on them. Never.”
Baldwin said he and Hutchins “have profound things in common. We both think the gun is dead.”
He later broke down in tears as he described the cinematographer, saying she was “a person loved by everyone and admired by everyone who worked with her.”
Baldwin said he is giving the interview because the criminal investigation and civil lawsuits surrounding the case will take months, and there are many misconceptions among the public that need to be refuted.
“I really feel like I can’t wait for that process to end,” Baldwin said.
He added that he wanted to make it clear that “I will do my best to undo what happened.”
But Baldwin said, “I want to make sure I don’t come across as if I’m the victim because we have two victims here.”
The primetime special airs on ABC on Thursday nights and will stream on Hulu afterward.
The assistant director handed the gun over to Baldwin after the actor insisted he didn’t pull the trigger.
Lisa Torraco, an attorney for assistant director David Halls, told ABC News on Thursday that her client always said Baldwin never pulled the trigger. “He told me from day one he thought it was a mistaken fire,” Torraco said.
“Until Alec said that, it was really hard to believe, but Dave told me from the first day I met him, that Alec didn’t pull that trigger.”
Authorities said Baldwin had been told the gun was safe to handle but continued to investigate how a direct spin ended with the weapon.
The lawsuit filed by the film’s script supervisor, one of whom names the actor and the others as defendants, alleges that the script and director did not urge Baldwin to pull the trigger, but he nonetheless I did too.
Investigators described “some complacency” in the handling of weapons on the set of “Rust”. They said it was too early to determine whether charges would be filed, amid independent civil lawsuits related to liability in the fatal shooting.
Baldwin said he met Hanna Gutierrez Reed, the film’s lead actress, for a pre-shooting gun training session, and she proved capable and responsible.
“I assume that because she was there and hired, she got the job done,” he said.
Gutierrez Reed has been the subject of a lot of scrutiny in the case. Her attorney has said she did not put the bullet in the gun, and believes she was the victim of vandalism.
ABC says a two-hour “20/20” special next week will look at the shooting investigation in more depth.