this is "nightline." >> tonight, alec baldwin unscripted. >> i let goff the hammer, bang, the gun goes off. >> recalling the details of that day on the "rust" movie set. >> you never pulled the trigger? >> no, no, no, no. >> how did a real bullet get -- >> what i'm saying is i have no idea. i have no someone how someone put a live bullet in a gun. >> the chaos and confusion. >> she goes down. i thought to myself, did she faint? >> and the pain he now feels. >> she was someone likedly everyone who worked with her and admired -- sorry. >> do you feel guilt? plus -- >> we need some help in here now. >> inside the first wave of the pandemic. >> no one else was seeing what we were seeing. >> the new documentary showing
the fear and pain. >> it was just grasping at whatever to try to get the best care for my husband. >> and the resilience of the human spirit. do you struggle with occasional nerve aches in your hands or feet? try nervivenerve relief from the world's #1 selling nerve care company. nervive contains alpha lipoic acid to relieve occasional nerve aches, weakness and discomfort. try nervivenerve relief.
actor alec baldwin has remained mostly silent about the shooting on the set of his film "rust" until now. he's speaking out to george stephanopoulos in an abc news exclusive. what he says happened that day. >> this. i think the big question and the one you must have asked yourself a thousand times, how could this have happened? >> all of what happened on that day leading up to this event was precipitated on one idea, and that is that helena and i had something profound in common. and that as we both assumed the gun was empty. other than those dummy rounds. >> reporter: alec baldwin is speaking out about the tragic incident that took the life of helena hutchin on this the set of the film "rust," the low-budget western which he was both producing and starring in. it was the 12th day of a 21-day shoot. >> that day i did exactly what i've done every day on that
movie. >> reporter: baldwin preparing for one of his biggest scenes, a shoot-out inside this wooden church. >> i'm handed the gun, someone says "this is a cold gun." >> dave halls? >> in my years hot gun meant there was a charge, cold gun meant there was nothing in there. when he's saying this is a cold gun what he's saying to everybody on the set is you can relax. the gun is empty. >> that's what cold gun means? >> cold gun means there's no charge. there could be dummy rounds. >> reporter: a dummy round looks like a real bullet but is completely inert, containing no explosive charge. baldwin, director joel souza, and cinematographer hen li na hutchins rehearsing the scene. >> i'm holding the gun where she told me to told it, which was aimed below her armpit is what i was told, i don't know. this is an incidental shot, an angle that may not have ended up in the film at all. but we kept doing this. i said to her, "in this scene
i'm going to cock the gun, do you want to see that? ." she said yes r. i take the gun, start to cock the gun. she said, "tilt it down." i cock, can you see that? i let go of the hammer of the gun, the gun goes off. i let go of the hammer of the gun, the gun goals off. >> at the moment -- >> that was the moment the gun went off. >> it wasn't in the script for the trigger to be pulled? >> the trigger wasn't pulled, i didn't pull the trigger. >> you never pulled the trigger? >> no, no, no, no, i would never point a gun at someone and pull the trigger, no. that was the training i have. you don't point a gun and pull the trigger. >> reporter: watchers agree alec did not pull the trigger and his finger was outside the trigger guard. >> 911, what's the location of your emergency? >> we need a -- we need an ambulance out at bonanza creek ranch right now, there's people shot on a movie set accidentally. >> i'll connect you with medical.
>> the gun was supposed to be empty. i was told i was handed an empty gun. if there were cosmetic rounds, nothing with a charge at all, a flash round, nothing. she goes down. i thought to myself, did she faint? was there a blank -- sometimes those blank rounds have a wadding inside that packs, packs the gunpowder in. the idea that someone put a live bullet in the gun was not even in reality. >> did you go up to her? >> i went up to her, we're immediately told to get out of the building, forced to get out of the building, the medics came in. i stood over her for 60 seconds and she just lay there kind of in shock. >> was she conscious? >> uh -- my recollection is yes. >> reporter: director joel souza also wounded, his shoulder hit by the same bullet that traveled through helena. >> when she went down, he went down, and he was screaming really loudly. and i thought, what is he screaming -- what happened? within 15 minutes or 20 minutes after that, the police arrived and took the church set and put the crime tape around it, the yellow tape, forced us all to
the perimeters of the parking area where we sat and waited. she was not taken out of the church for quite a while. >> nobody told you what happened? >> no, no. it wasn't until i was in the police station, hours later. finally one of the police officers, at the conclusion of my interview -- i was there like an hour and a half or so -- she takes her phone, slides it across to me, said, "that's what came out of joel's shoulder." a .45-caliber slug, a real bullet. >> you didn't know exactly how serious it was? >> at the very end of my interview they said, "we regret to tell you she didn't make it, she died." they told me then and there. i went in the parking lot and called my wife to talk to my wife. >> how did a real bullet get on the set -- >> that's what i'm saying, that's for a criminal investigation to solve, i have no idea. i have no idea. i take that back, i have some ideas, but that's not for me to say. >> reporter: in the aftermath of the shooting authorities are investigating how live rounds made it onto the new mexico set. baldwin says he placed his trust in hannah gutierrez reed. according to a search warrant
executed this week, the young armorer told investigators she loaded five dummy rounds into baldwin's gun before lunch and a sixth after when the gun was retrieved from a safe. gutierrez reid's attorney says she has no idea where the rounds came from. raising the possibility someone may have deliberately mixed live rounds in a box of dummies in an act of sabotage. >> her attorney has said he believes the set was sabotaged. do you believe the set was sabotaged? >> do i believe that the set was sabotaged? no, because i can't imagine how that would have been effected. i don't know how somebody would have done that. >> reporter: the santa fe district attorney leading the investigation has said she does not believe sabotage is a possibility. >> i know that some defense attorneys have come up with conspiracy theories and have used the word "sabotage." we do not have any proof. >> reporter: according to a search warrant, assistant director david halls, seen in this imdb photo, told
investigators gutierrez reid opened the firearm used by baldwin, but halls can only remember three rounds, and that he should have checked all of them but didn't, and couldn't recall if gutierrez reid spun the drum. halls told investigators he didn't know there were any live rounds in the firearm. but his attorney said it wasn't halls' responsibility to confirm whether the gun was loaded. >> i don't want to see anybody suffer unnecessarily. i feel terrible, what's happened to hannah, i do. i feel horrible, what happened to halls, i do. i mean, this is something where, i mean -- as far as i'm concerned, someone put -- the investigation's going to find out, but someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn't even supposed to be on the property. and this is the thing. i hope that the sheriff's department doesn't give up on this. where did that bullet come from? >> reporter: when the dust settled, helena hutchins, just 42 years old, lost her life. >> she was someone who was loved by everyone who worked with and admired -- sorry.
admired by everybody who -- who worked with her. >> reporter: the hutchins family has yet to file any lawsuits, but two crew members from the film have filed civil suits against production, including baldwin, citing unsafe working conditions. in the month and a half since hutchins' tragic death on the set of "rust," baldwin says his life has become a recurring nightmare. >> i have dreams. >> this constantly now. i wake up constantly where guns are going off. these images have come into my mind, kept me awake at night. >> is this the worst thing that's ever happened to you? >> yes. yeah. yeah. because i -- i think -- i think back. and i think of what could i have done? >> your emotions are so clearly so right there on the surface.
you felt shock. you felt anger. you felt sadness. do you feel guilt? >> no, no. i feel that there is -- i feel that -- that someone is responsible for what happened. and i can't say who that is. but i know it's not me. i mean, honest to god, if i felt that i was responsible, i might have killed myself if i thought i was responsible. i don't say that lightly. >> reporter: baldwin now awaiting the outcome of the sheriff's investigation. hoping whatever it uncovers helps to ensure tragedy like this never happens again. >> i think it's important to remember that she was as admired as she was loved. that's essential to say that. is that she's someone who people really, really thought she had a great talent. >> our thanks to george. you can see the full show "alec baldwin unscripted" streaming
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♪ it was a time that those who lived through will never forget. the early days of the pandemic. a new documentary takes us to the front lines, giving us reason for hope. it reached every corner of the world and changed us all. >> i have to keep it together. i have kids who can't see me fall apart. he has to come home.
>> reporter: the first wave of the pandemic here in the u.s. bringing health care workers to their knees and patients to the brink. >> it is because of you that we are going to make it through. >> you are more than just a doctor. >> the first wave was definitely a tale of two cities. it was like a silence in new york. but like in hospitals, it was like chaos. >> reporter: now as the omicron variant arrives in the u.s., we're nearly two years since the start of the covid-19 crisis. and those on the front lines of the worst of it now reflecting on the moments that changed them. >> when we started chanting -- >> i can't breathe! >> i literally felt like my breath was ripped away. i also heard all the times my patients said, "i can't breathe." >> reporter: their journeys are featured in an intimate new nat geo participant film, "the first wave," taking us inside one of the hardest-hit hospital systems -- >> we need some help in here
now! >> reporter: documenting the first four months of the pandemic. the heroes at the center of it all. >> like we've been doing here over the last couple of weeks, it's extraordinary and special. >> from your perspective, what the film's about? >> many things. i originally went in to make this film to try to humanize, put a human face to covid. >> last week, there were like maybe one, two -- >> reporter: the film follows dr. that tally duje, an internist working at long island jewish in new york, early days of the pandemic. at the time, little was known about the virus. >> we are taught pattern recognition. and as of right now, there's no clear pattern. >> what we were seeing inside there, it was hard to describe. and then no one else was seeing what we were seeing. >> reporter: matthew heineman, the oscar nominated-filmmaker behind "tiger" and "cartel land"
the gut-wrenching moments were intentional. we see people survive, we see people die. why make the choice to be so raw in a number of places in this film? >> that's the reality of what happened. finding that balance in the edit room was extremely, extremely important. i definitely didn't want to sugarcoat the reality of what we all went through. >> reporter: as pain and loss mounted, a second crisis emerged. following the death of george floyd, tensions over racial injustice boiling over. the filmmaking team capturing unexpected raw moments. >> because i'm tired of seeing people like you in the hospital. i'm tired. i'm tired. it's not even worth it. please. your family cares about you. your family cares about you. your family cares about you. your family cares about you already. >> in my perception, he wanted to be acknowledged. as the gentleman that he is.
as that black man, that human being that's just trying to live his day to day. and for me, i just couldn't -- my soul couldn't take any senseless harm to another black man. >> the film is unapologetic making the connection of the "i can't breathe" from what it meant on the streets of america, george floyd, of the world, to what it meant in the hospital. "i can't breathe." >> when i first heard that line, i said, this can't be real. i was haunted by that phrase in the hospital. those looks the patients gave me of desperation. of anxiety. i saw what it looked like before someone passed away saying "i can't breathe."
i felt my soul crushed. >> don't beat yourself up. >> reporter: the majority of dr. douge's patients, black, brown, and immigrants. >> for me, i couldn't breathe. then hearing "i can't breathe." it's hard for me to swallow. >> reporter: ahmed ellis, a 36-year-old nypd school safety officer and first-gen race american was brought to dr. douge's hospital after contracting covid. he was intubated twice. his wife allowing cameras to capture each excruciating moment of their journey. >> i knew he was so sick. i thought maybe if the cameras were in there that they would give him the best treatment. yeah, i was just grasping at whatever to try to get the best care for my husband.
>> reporter: isolated in the hospital, the love from his wife and children giving him fuel to keep fighting. >> i see patients being there alone, not having anybody. i look forward to facetime every day. that's all i had. >> hi, daddy. say hi, daddy. could you say hi? >> reporter: after a month and a half in the hospital -- >> whoo, nice! >> reporter: ahmed finally gained enough strength to go home. >> that was a great day. one of the happiest days of my life. >> reporter: his family cherishing every moment together. in the months following that first wave, much has changed for those featured in the film. >> i had to resign. as a full-time fit. physician.
because despite me loving what i do when i can do it fully and wholly and really get to work with my patients, mentally, the flashbacks are real. the ptsd is there. >> reporter: while the film makes clear the courage of health care workers, patients, and families, it also pays homage to an often unheralded superhero, the human spirit. >> i think there's no question that we've all been changed forever. and so of course there are difficult moments in this film. but i also think there's a lot of love and beauty and humanity. >> it is truly emphasizing the human spirit and what it can endure and how it can be better. and it's a fight for that. so this film, it's life. >> you can watch the full nat geo documentary "the first wave"
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♪ finally tonight, a woman in connecticut lost a package to a porch pirate recently. and she caught the critter red-handed. a possum doing a quick grab of the gold hoop she had been waiting for. no word whether the four-legged bandit plans to regift them. that's "nightline" for this evening. catch our full episodes on hulu. see you right back here same time tomorrow. thanks for the company, america. good night.