'Rust' shooting: No charges filed yet, but officials say 'no one has been ruled out'

Rust shooting Alec Baldwin DA sheriff Santa Fe
Posted at 2:08 AM, Oct 27, 2021

While officials investigating last week's fatal shooting on the set of the film "Rust" declined to say Wednesday if and when they plan to file charges, they added that their investigation is ongoing and that "all options" for potential charges remain on the table.

"No one has been ruled out at this point," said Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.

That includes actor Alec Baldwin, who fired the fatal shots last Thursday that killed the film's director of cinematography, Halyna Hitchens, and injured director Joel Souza.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said Wednesday that his office had interviewed more than a hundred crew members and collected more than 600 pieces of evidence from the set.

Mendoza confirmed that among those interviewed were Baldwin, "Rust" armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and "Rust" assistant director Dave Halls. He said all three were cooperating with the investigation.

According to court documents, Hitchens was killed, and Souza was injured Thursday when a gun handled by Baldwin fired while crew members were setting up a scene for the western drama. Documents say that Baldwin had been told that the weapon he was holding was "cold" — meaning it did not contain live ammunition.

However, Mendoza said Wednesday that his office had collected what he believed to be live rounds. He said those rounds were being sent to FBI offices in Virginia for testing.

"We're going to determine how those (live rounds) got there and why they were there because they shouldn't have been there," Mendoza said.

Mendoza also added that there were three guns on set during the fatal incident — a plastic revolver, a gun with a modification that may have prevented it from being fired, and the firearm with a "live" round that Baldwin was handling.

During Wednesday's press conference, Mendoza told media members that there was "no timeline" set in filing charges. He added that he felt it was most important to conduct a complete and thorough investigation.

Over the weekend, The Associated Press reported that several crew members on set had raised safety concerns about the production and that seven crew members even walked off set hours before the shooting.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Baldwin's stunt double had accidentally fired two live rounds on set five days before the fatal shooting after being told the gun he was holding did not contain live ammunition.

Mendoza himself said Wednesday that he felt there was "complacency" regarding gun safety on the set of "Rust" before the shooting. Carmack-Altwies added that her office would take into consideration any safety issues on set when filing charges.

According to CNN, Halls, the film's assistant director, has faced complaints on other film sets for his disregard for safety protocols.