"How many bullets have gone off in movies, nearly all of them without incident?," the Rust star asked a group of paparazzi in an impromptu interview in Vermont.

Alec Baldwin spoke out publicly Saturday for the first time since the accidental on-set death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, calling the incident involving a discharged prop gun "a one-in-a-trillion episode."

The actor, who's been ordered by the Santa Fe Sheriff's Department not to answer any questions while their investigation is ongoing, said he is speaking to the officers every day and is awaiting the results of their work.

"How many bullets have been fired in films and TV shows in the last 75 years?" he asked a group of paparazzi recording him and his wife, Hilaria Baldwin, in Vermont, where the couple has been staying. "This is America. How many bullets have gone off in movies, nearly all of them without incident?"

Alec Baldwin attends the World Premiere of National Geographic Documentary Films' 'The First Wave' at Hamptons International Film Festival on October 07, 2021 in East Hampton, New York.
Alec Baldwin has spoken out publicly for the first time about cinematographer Halyna Hutchins' accidental death on the set of 'Rust.'
| Credit: Mark Sagliocco/Getty

Baldwin, 63, said he doesn't think production on his upcoming Western movie Rust — which he described as a "very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together"­ — will start up again. He declined to discuss any of his future projects.

The mood was frequently tense as Baldwin delivered his remarks from the side of a road after pulling his vehicle over to confront the paparazzi who'd been following him. Hilaria joined him for the impromptu interview, stepping in to help control the flow of questions as passing cars slowed down to take in the scene. The full video of Baldwin's interview is available on TMZ.

Although Baldwin didn't say whether he'd ever again work on a set with firearms, he does support recent movements to change the rules surrounding armaments on film and television sets.

"I'm not an expert in this field," he said, "so whatever other people decide is the best way to go in terms of protecting people's safety on film sets, I'm all in favor of, and I will cooperate with that in any way that I can."

Baldwin added that he's met with Hutchins' husband, Matthew, and described him as shocked and "overwhelmed with grief." He also expressed concern for Matthew and Halyna's 9-year-old son.

Both Alec and Hilaria Baldwin chastised the members of the press who couldn't remember Hutchins' name as they peppered him with questions.

"She was my friend," Baldwin said.

The Baldwin family has been staying mostly out of the public's eye in Vermont since the Oct. 22 fatal shooting, and Baldwin said he only stopped to take questions in an effort to get the paparazzi to stop tailing him and his family.

"My kids are in the car crying," he said. "We sat down as a courtesy to talk to you. Now please, would you just stop following us? Leave us alone."

Before today's public remarks, Baldwin had only addressed the accident on Twitter.

Baldwin was rehearsing a scene on the Rust set in Santa Fe, N.M., when the prop gun he was holding discharged and struck Hutchins, 42, and director Joel Souza, 48, who was hospitalized for his injury but released soon after. Rust Movie Productions LLC has launched an internal review of the shooting.

"The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company," the company said last week in a statement to PEOPLE.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said in a Wednesday press conference that his office has collected three firearms and 500 rounds of blanks and live rounds as part of their ongoing investigation into the accident.

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