Santa Fe County Sheriff says Baldwin fired ‘suspected live round’ on ‘Rust’ set

Santa Fe County Sheriff says Baldwin fired ‘suspected live round’ on ‘Rust’ set
Jae C. Hong/AP

The Santa Fe County Sheriff on Wednesday said the gun discharged by actor Alec Baldwin during a fatal incident on the set of “Rust” fired a “suspected live round.”

Investigators believe they have recovered the “lead projectile” and shell casing from the ammunition that struck and killed the film’s director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, 42, and injured director Joel Souza.

“The facts are clear: a weapon was handed to Mr. Baldwin. The weapon is functional and fired a live round, killing Ms. Hutchins and injuring Mr. Souza,” Sheriff Adan Mendoza said at a joint press conference between the Sante Fe County Sheriff’s Office and district attorney office.

Approximately 500 rounds of ammunition — a combination of blanks, dummy and live rounds — have been seized from the set, Mendoza said. He said they believe the lead projectile that was fired from the gun was recovered from Souza’s shoulder.

A total of three guns were seized from the proximity of the incident, Mendoza added. In addition to the one believed to have been fired by Baldwin, one was altered and not functioning and the other was plastic.

The evidence will be submitted to the FBI for further processing, he said.

Those who were in close proximity to the shooting have been interviewed and authorities are looking to also continue to interview the more than 100 people who were also present in different parts of the set.

Baldwin, Armorer Hannah Reed-Gutierrez and assistant director David Halls have been cooperative with investigators, according to Mendoza.

What happened

According to an affidavit for a search warrant, Souza said he was shot in the shoulder and Hutchins was killed as Baldwin practiced drawing a prop gun during rehearsal for the Western at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe.

The director told investigators Baldwin was “sitting in a pew in a church building setting, and he was practicing a cross draw,” it is stated in the affidavit. A cross draw is when a shooter pulls the weapon from a holster on the opposite side of the body from the draw hand.

Souza also said Hutchins was “complaining about her stomach and grabbing her midsection” after the shot was fired.

Authorities said on Wednesday that they have recovered some camera footage but believe there is no footage of the actual incident.

District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies also said during the press conference that prosecution will be initiated if facts and documents support charges and “all options are on the table” regarding possible charges relating to the incident.

Safety concerns

Earlier, an affidavit for a search warrant for the movie set filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office and obtained by CNN affiliate KOAT contained information that the assistant director who handed Baldwin the prop firearm had yelled “cold gun.”

Souza confirmed to investigators that he heard the term “cold gun,” meaning it was unloaded.

The assistant director, Dave Halls, was accused of a disregard for safety protocols during productions in 2019, two people who worked closely with him told CNN.

Maggie Goll, an IATSE Local 44 prop maker and licensed pyrotechnician, said in a statement to CNN that while working on Hulu’s “Into the Dark” Anthology Series in February and May of 2019, Halls neglected to hold safety meetings and consistently failed to announce the presence of a firearm on set to the crew, as is protocol.

Baldwin was seen looking visibly upset after the shooting on the “Rust” set and said that he was “fully cooperating” with authorities.

“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,” Baldwin tweeted after the tragedy. “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. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”

Hutchins, who was a wife and mother, is being deeply mourned in the Hollywood community and remembered for her kindness.

On Wednesday, Mendoza invited those with additional information regarding the set or additional information to contact the Sheriff’s office.

“I think there was some complacency on this set,” he said. “I think there are some safety issues that need to be addressed by the industry and possibly by the state of New Mexico, but I’ll leave that up to the industry and the state to determine what those need to be.”

The-CNN-Wire
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