New Mexico authorities briefed the media Wednesday and gave new details about the recent fatal shooting on the filmset of “Rust,” revealing Alec Baldwin was handling a vintage Colt 45 revolver when a lead projectile fired and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.
Souza was standing behind Hutchins when Baldwin drew the gun and fired.
Sheriff Adan Mendoza said the projectile in Souza’s shoulder had been removed and is believed to have come from the gun Baldwin was handling on set. He described a culture of “complacency” on the set regarding firearms.
The officials said Baldwin and other witnesses on set were cooperating with authorities. The producers of “Rust” have also hired the law firm of Jenner & Block to conduct an investigation, sending a letter to those involved with production notifying them of Jenner’s involvement Tuesday night.
What items were recovered in the investigation?
Mendoza said his office had executed search warrants and recovered 600 items of evidence including three firearms and 500 rounds of ammunition.
His office had “recovered possible additional live rounds on set,” he said.
“All items will be submitted to the FBI crime lab in Quantico, Virginia for analysis,” Mendoza told the media in what were the first public comments made by authorities regarding the fatal accident.
Mary Carmack-Altwies, the Santa Fe district attorney, said there was no precedent for this type of incident in New Mexico and added it was too early in the investigation to discuss charges, such as criminal negligence.
What happened that led to the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins?
The sequence of events that led up to the fatal shooting of Hutchins and injured Souza has confounded many Hollywood insiders.
Last Thursday, according to a written affidavit contained in court records, Baldwin was handed what he was told was a “cold” gun, meaning it was safe and not loaded with live ammunition, by assistant director David Halls. The gun was grabbed from a cart used by the set’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez.
Gutierrez told a detective live ammunition was not kept on set, however, the death of Hutchins disproves this was the case.
Halls said Gutierrez typically opened the hatch of the gun and spun the drum prior to using the weapons on set, but he could not remember if she had done so prior to the shooting. He told investigators he only remembered three rounds in the gun.
After the shooting, Halls brought the gun to Gutierrez and said he saw five rounds in the gun, noting at least four were dummy rounds. There was also a casing in the gun missing the cap or the hole indicating it was a dummy round.
Hutchins was flown by helicopter to the University of New Mexico Hospital and pronounced dead. Souza was hospitalized and released.
In the film “Rust,” Baldwin plays an outlaw grandfather to a 13-year-old boy convicted of an accidental killing in the Western film set in the 1880s in the US state of Kansas.
Production of the film has ceased since Hutchins death.
Baldwin has called the deadly shooting a “tragic accident.”
Several workplace disputes had erupted on set since early October.
In the hours before the accidental fatal shooting, some camera crew members walked off set complaining about working conditions and safety protocols.
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