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As the Alec Baldwin Rust shooting investigation continues, the Santa Fe County sheriff on Wednesday said that three guns and 500 rounds of ammunition had been recovered from the New Mexico film set where the cinematographer was killed and the director wounded.
The investigation, however, could take several more months, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said during a Wednesday news conference.
The sheriff specified that one of the three guns collected from the set was a non-functioning firearm.
Also recovered was the suspected shell casing, the sheriff said, adding that a slug was taken from director Joel Souza’s shoulder that “was apparently the same round” that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Other possible live rounds from the set were also seized. The evidence will be submitted to an FBI lab for analysis, the sheriff said, also noting that there were more interviews to be conducted.
“There was a total of 500 rounds of ammunition — that is a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what we are suspecting [are] live rounds,” Mendoza said. “[It’s] too early right now to comment on charges at this point.” Mendoza told the media that arrests will be made if warranted.
Hutchins died Oct. 21 after being injured by a gun fired by Baldwin, the Western’s star. Souza was taken to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center but has since been discharged.
The gun used by Baldwin, a Colt .45 revolver, had been handled by armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director Dave Halls. It was Halls who handed the gun to Baldwin, announcing, “cold gun” — aka “not loaded” — according to a Santa Fe County Sheriff detective’s affidavit used to obtain a search warrant. In the midst of explaining how he would draw the gun, Baldwin went through the motion, which is when the gun fired, according to the affidavit. The sheriff said Wednesday that no footage of the shooting exists.
Halls was previously fired from another film in 2019 following an accident involving a weapon, according to a producer on that project, Freedom’s Path.
“All three individuals have been cooperative in the investigation and have provided statements,” Mendoza said Wednesday, adding investigators are trying to determine how the gun was loaded. “The people that inspected the firearm when it was loaded before it got to Mr. Baldwin were interviewed.”
In a third search warrant filed in a Santa Fe court on Wednesday, The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office indicated it was seeking to search a white prop truck that housed some ammunition and a safe that held firearms. According to the warrant, armorer Gutierrez-Reed said that, on the day of the on-set shooting incident she “checked the ‘dummies’ and ensured they were not ‘hot’ rounds” and when the crew broke for lunch, the firearms were secured in the safe in the prop truck that only select workers had access to, with some ammunition left unsecured on a cart on the set.
After lunch, the film’s prop master procured the firearms from the safe and “during the course of filming, Hannah advised she handed the gun to Alec Baldwin a couple times, and also handed it to David Halls.” Gutierrez-Reed told the investigator that no “live ammo” is ever kept on set, though the Sheriff said in Wednesday’s press conference that they recovered what they believe to be additional live rounds taken from the set.
In the same search warrant, AD Halls said that normally when handling guns on set, “I check the barrel for obstructions, most of the time there’s no live fire, she [Hannah] opens the hatch and spins the drum, and I say cold gun on set.” However, before the rehearsal when Hutchins and Souza were shot, Halls said he could remember seeing only three rounds. “He advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t remember if she spun the drum,” the warrant reads.
The production, which began Oct. 6 on the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, has wrapped pending the investigation. A representative for Rust previously said the production was “not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set.” But several crewmembers have expressed to The Hollywood Reporter frustration, specifically with the film’s six producers, including Baldwin, who have limited producing experience.
The production has hired the firm Jenner & Block to handle their own investigation, with partner Brandon Fox involved. Jenner & Block, representing the Motion Picture Association for years, has a strong entertainment practice.
“If the facts and evidence and law support charges, then I will initiate prosecution at that time,” Carmack-Altwies said Wednesday. “I do not make rash decisions and cannot rush to judgment. I cannot stress the importance of allowing the Santa Fe sheriff’s office to continue with their investigation, which is both serious and complex.”
She added, “All options are on the table at this point. I’m not commenting on charges [or] on if they will be filed or not, and [against] who. No one has been ruled out at this point”
Baldwin released a statement the morning after the shooting in which he conveyed his “shock and sadness” over the devastating situation. Baldwin said at the time he was working with authorities in their investigation and had been in contact with the Hutchins family.
Oct. 27, 12:59 p.m.: Updated with information from third search warrant.
Reporter Katie Kilkenny and legal editor-at-large Eriq Gardner contributed to this report.
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