The weapon was not thoroughly checked before Alec Baldwin fired a fatal shot
SANTA FE, NM, October 27 (Reuters) – A .45 caliber Colt revolver used on the set of the movie “Rust” was not thoroughly checked before being handed over to actor Alec Baldwin, who fired a Actual lead bullet in a fatal shooting accident last week in New Mexico, officials said and a new court case said.
New details about the incident emerged on Wednesday at a press conference by Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and in an affidavit filed by the Sheriff’s Department. Mendoza told reporters there was a complacent attitude to safety on set ahead of last Thursday’s shoot that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a rehearsal.
Hannah Gutierrez, the gun crew member on the set, told investigators she checked the guns there but found no “hot bullets” – which meant apparently live ammunition – before the shooting, according to the affidavit.
Dave Halls, the film’s deputy director, told investigators he “should have checked all” the cartridges in the gun before handing it to Baldwin but had not, according to the affidavit. Authorities have previously said Baldwin was given what he believed to be a “cold” or safe firearm by Halls, who took it in a cart used by Gutierrez.
Mendoza and Carmack-Altwies said no criminal charges have been filed, but they do not rule out this possibility.
“All options are on the table.… No one has been left out at this point,” Carmack-Altwies said of potential charges.
Gutierrez, whose job is officially called the film crew armorer, said ammunition was not secured on set during a lunch break prior to filming, according to the affidavit. He quoted her as saying the guns were secured in a safe kept on a white truck during the break and no actual bullets are ever kept on a film set.
“Only a few people” had access to the safe and knew the combination to open it, Gutierrez said, according to the affidavit.
A judge on Wednesday approved a request from investigators to search the truck.
Authorities have collected 600 pieces of evidence, including three firearms, 500 rounds – some are believed to be live ammunition – and several items of clothing and accessories as part of the ongoing investigation, Mendoza said. Some evidence is being sent to an FBI criminal lab for analysis, Mendoza added.
Authorities used the gun in the shooting and recovered the bullet in the shoulder of director Joel Souza, who was injured but later released from hospital, Mendoza said. It looks like the same ball hit Souza and Hutchins, Mendoza added.
Mendoza said the weapon Baldwin used was an Italian-made Pietta Long Colt revolver.
“We would consider it to be a real bullet – a bullet, real – because it fired the gun and obviously caused the death of Ms Hutchins and injured Mr Souza,” Mendoza said.
Baldwin, 63, is a co-producer of “Rust,” a western movie set in 1880s Kansas. Production at Bonanza Creek ranch, near Santa Fe, has been halted.
Mendoza said Baldwin, Halls and Gutierrez are all cooperating with the investigation.
Asked about the use of live weapons on a movie set, the sheriff said, “I think the industry recently set a safety record. I think there was some complacency on that set. I think there are safety issues that need to be addressed by industry and perhaps the state of New Mexico. ”
The shooting sent shockwaves through Hollywood, sparking debate over film and television safety protocols – including whether certain types of firearms used as props should be banned – and working conditions on them. low budget productions.
Before the incident, the cameramen had left the set to protest against the working conditions.
Baldwin was pulling a gun at his body and pointing it at a camera as he rehearsed when the gun fired, according to court documents. There is no video footage of the incident, Mendoza said.
The film’s producers hired law firm Jenner & Block to investigate the set. In a letter sent to the cast and crew, the film’s production crew said Jenner “will have absolute discretion as to who to interview and what conclusions they draw.”
(This story corrects the weapon type in the first paragraph to the gun)
Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien, David Thomas, Doina Chiacu and Jill Serjeant; Editing by Will Dunham
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