Joel Souza, director and screenwriter of the film "Rust," speaks on the witness stand on March 1, 2024.

(CNN) --

Joel Souza, director and screenwriter of the film “Rust,” took the stand this Friday in the trial for involuntary manslaughter of the production's weapons manager, to testify about the moment she was shot on the set .

"There was an incredibly loud bang," unlike typical discharges on set, Souza testified.

"This was deafening."

After the outburst, Souza said, “I felt like someone had hit me with a baseball bat on the shoulder, I remember it clearly.”

  • Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins' family sues Alec Baldwin and "Rust" production company civilly

Souza was standing directly behind cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, trying to get a closer look at the film's camera shot.

“I clearly remember (Hutchins) being lowered to the ground, people had her on both sides.

She still didn't know what had happened.

Nothing made sense,” she stated.

"I remember initially thinking, 'was she scared by that?'

and then I saw her blood on his back.”

Hutchins was fatally shot during the October 2021 incident.


Souza recalled the chaotic scene unfolding and the presence of weapons officer Hannah Gutiérrez Reed, “standing there, looking distraught.”

"I remember she said, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, Joel,' and I remember someone yelling at her and they just took her out," he recalled.

At the hospital, the filmmaker said he did not understand that he had been shot.

“I knew something had hit me, but they kept talking about this bullet and I just couldn't process what was happening.

I kept saying, 'You don't understand.

No, no, no, this was a movie set.

That is not possible.

You don't understand' and 'It's just not possible'.

"It's just not possible for there to be real gunshots."

Doctors then showed Souza the X-ray of his back.

"There was a very large bullet inside."

Testimony at trial has hinged on whether Gutiérrez Reed, who was in charge of handling weapons on set, or Alec Baldwin and the film's production team, are responsible for the shooting.

New Mexico Prosecutor Jason Lewis has said Gutierrez Reed's failure to properly implement safety controls led to live bullets arriving on set.

Alternatively, his defense lawyers have emphasized that the film's production team fostered a chaotic environment and that Reed, who was only 24 years old at the time, was given an excessive amount of responsibilities on the set.

Gutiérrez Reed pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter.

Baldwin also pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges stemming from Hutchins' death.