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 assistant director, handed the gun to Baldwin, telling the actor it was “cold” or safe.
“He said he should have checked them all, but didn’t,” Halls told police, according to the affidavit. Halls was referring to the guns of the revolver.
Halls had been fired from a previous movie shot in 2019 because of a gun incident, production company Rocket Soul said on Monday. He has made no public comment on the incident.
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.
Legal experts have said criminal charges are possible but unlikely against Baldwin. Read more
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.
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 during the break and no actual bullets are ever kept on a movie set.
“Only a few people” had access to the safe and knew the combination to open it, Gutierrez said, according to the affidavit.
Authorities collected three guns, 500 rounds of ammunition – some are believed to be live ammunition – and several items of clothing, Mendoza said. Some of the ballistic 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 was 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. ”
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. They said lawyers “will have full discretion as to who to question and what conclusions they draw.”
Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien, David Thomas, Doina Chiacu and Jill Serjeant; Editing by Will Dunham and Shri Navaratnam
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