Investigators stated Wednesday that there was “some complacency” in the way weapons were handled on the movie sets where Alec Baldwin shot and killed a cinematographer, and injured another person. However, it is too early to know if charges will be brought.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza reported that 500 rounds of ammunition, which included blanks, dummy and live rounds, were discovered while searching for the Western “Rust” set.
“Obviously, I believe the industry has a track record of being safe in recent years. Mendoza stated that there had been complacency about this set and that there were safety concerns that needed to be addressed by the industry, possibly the state of New Mexico. This was almost a week after the shooting.
Authorities confirmed that there was no video of the shooting which took place during a rehearsal.
Investigators believe Baldwin shot one live round with his gun, killing Halyna Hutchins, a cinematographer, and injuring Joel Souza.
Detectives recovered the lead projectile that Souza may have used in his shooting last week. To confirm that the projectile found on Souza’s shoulders was fired from the same long Colt revolver as Baldwin, testing is currently underway. Ballistics analysis will be performed by the FBI.
Officials said that two other guns were also seized. One was a single-action revolver which may have been modified, and one that was described as a revolver.
Souza was standing beside Hutchins and told investigators that there shouldn’t be any live rounds near the scene.
“We suspect there were additional live rounds, but that will be up to the testing. Mendoza stated that we are currently investigating how they got there and why they were there when they shouldn’t be.”
Mary Carmack-Altwies, District Attorney, stated that investigators are unable to determine if it was negligence and by who. It was a complicated case, she said. More research and analysis will be required.
She stated that it would take many more facts and corroborated facts before we can reach the criminal negligence standard.
Investigators stated that they would investigate reports of misfires with guns on set.
Mike Tristano, an armorer veteran or movie weapons specialist was alarmed to learn that live rounds were mixed with blanks, and dummy round.
Tristano stated, “I find it appalling.” “In more than 600 films and TV series that I have done, we’ve never had any live rounds on set.”
Hollywood professionals were baffled by the shooting. There have been calls for better regulation of firearms on sets, or even to ban them altogether in this age of seamless computer-generated imagery. According to court records, an assistant director took the gun from a cart. He then shouted “cold gun” and said that the weapon was safe.
Hannah Gutierrez Reed was the Baldwin film’s armorer. She said that she checked the dummy bullets for “hot” rounds on the day of shooting. A detective was also informed by Gutierrez Reed that although the guns used in filming were secured during a crew lunch break but the ammunition was left unattended on a cart, according to a search warrant issued Wednesday before the news conference.
Gutierrez Reed stated to a detective that no live ammunition was ever kept on the set.
She declined to comment when reached Wednesday afternoon by The Associated Press. Monday, she texted to say that she was in search of a lawyer.
David Halls, the assistant director, handed the gun to Baldwin prior to the shooting. He said Gutierrez Reed used to open the hatch of the gun and spin the drum. However, he can’t remember if that was before the shooting. According to the warrant, he said that he only remembers seeing three rounds in his gun.
Halls, who was shooting the rounds, took the gun to Gutierrez. He said that he saw five rounds in it, and at least four were “dummy” rounds. The holes on the sides and caps on the rounds indicate that they were “dummy”. Halls claimed that there was another casing in the gun, which did not have the cap or the hole, indicating that it was a dummy.
According to the warrant issued Wednesday to search a truck used in the set, Halls “advised that the incident wasn’t a deliberate act.”
Baldwin, 63, is well-known for his roles on “30 Rock”, “The Departed”, and “The Hunt for Red October”, as well as his impression of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live. He described the killings as a “tragic incident.”
According to court records, Baldwin used one of three guns that the armorer had put on a cart outside the building. This was where the scene was being rehearsed.
From the beginning of October, workplace disputes plagued “Rust.” Hours before shooting began, several members of the camera crew walked off the set amid disputes over safety procedures and working conditions.
Baldwin, in his role of actor, appeared unlikely to be held civilly or criminally responsible for the tragedy. However, Baldwin could be held liable as a producer.
Two previous productions raised concerns about Halls’ safety record. Halls has not responded to email and phone messages seeking comment.
Rust Movie Productions is the production company. It says it is cooperating and performing its own internal review on the procedures that led to the production being shut down.