Filming on the “Rust” film set: the authorities present their conclusions


SANTA FE, NM (NewsNation Now) – Investigators on Wednesday discussed their initial findings in the fatal shooting on set in which movie star and producer Alec Baldwin fired a gun, killing an director of photography and hurting the director.

The press conference by Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies was investigators’ first detailed public comment on the murder of 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins during a rehearsal at a ranch in the New Mexico.

Mendoza said it was too early to comment on possible charges, but confirmed that Alec Baldwin fired the gun.

“If the evidence and the law support the charges, then I will prosecute at that time. I am a prosecutor who was elected in part because I don’t make hasty decisions and rush to judge, ”Carmack-Altwies said.

Three guns, around 500 rounds and several items of clothing were seized from the set, Mendoza said.

“We suspect there were other live rounds that were found on the set,” Mendoza said. “This investigation is active, so I won’t comment on how they got there, but we suspect they are there. This will be determined when the tests are done by the crime lab with reference to whether or not these are officially live rounds. “

Hutchins was gunned down last week on set in New Mexico after an assistant director unwittingly handed movie star Alec Baldwin a loaded gun and told him it was safe to use.

According to court records, Deputy Warden Dave Halls shouted “knife”, assuring Baldwin he was safe to use as he had no live ammunition.

The weapon was loaded with live ammunition. When Baldwin pulled the trigger, he killed Hutchins. Director Joel Souza, who stood behind her, was injured, according to records.

The weapon was one of three that the film’s gunsmith, Hannah Gutierrez, had placed on a cart outside the wooden structure where a scene took place, according to records.

The sequence of events baffled Hollywood professionals and sparked calls to better regulate guns on set or even ban them in the age of seamless computer-generated imagery.

Baldwin, 63, who is known for his roles in “30 Rock,” “The Departed” and “The Hunt for Red October” as well as his impression of former President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” described the murder as a “tragic accident”.

Carmack-Altwies told The Associated Press ahead of the press conference that the investigation was still in its infancy – far from any decision on whether to lay criminal charges.

She said those involved in the production were cooperating with law enforcement and prosecutors would not fully examine the evidence until an initial investigation by the sheriff’s office was completed.

The weapon Baldwin used was one of three that a gun specialist, or “gunsmith,” had placed on a cart outside the building where a scene was rehearsed, according to court records.

Authorities seized three black revolvers, gun belts with holsters, boxes of ammunition, a fanny pack with ammunition, several casings and worn clothing and swabs of what was believed to be blood .

The production of “Rust” has been beset by labor disputes since the beginning of October. Hours before filming, several members of the film crew left the set amid disagreement over working conditions, including safety procedures.

The film’s chief electrician, Serge Svetnoy, blamed the producers for Hutchins’ death, saying he blamed “negligence and unprofessionalism” on the part of those handling guns on set.

“The negligence of the person who was supposed to check the gun at the site did not do that; the person who was to announce that the loaded weapon was at the site did not do so; the person who should have checked that gun before bringing it to the set didn’t, ”Svetnoy said in part. “And MAN’S DEATH IS THE RESULT! “

Svetnoy said he was standing next to Hutchins when the shooting took place and she died in his arms.

Baldwin, in his role as an actor, seemed unlikely to be held criminally or civilly responsible for the tragedy. As a producer, however, he’s one of a long list of film associates who might face some sort of liability.

“At the end of the day, the question is going to be what Alec Baldwin knew about the people he hired,” defense lawyer Cynthia Armijo said on NewsNation’s “Dan Abrams Live”.

Rust Movie Productions, the production company, said it is cooperating with Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and conducting its own internal review of the proceedings with the production shutdown.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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