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Sheriff says Alec Baldwin ‘is an active part of this investigation’

The sheriff and district attorney in Santa Fe County, N.M., held a joint press conference Wednesday where they discussed the latest in the Rust film set shooting, where Alec Baldwin discharged a live round that that caused the death of the film’s director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, and injured director Joel Souza last Thursday.

Sheriff Adam Mendoza said 600 items of evidence were recovered amid the investigation, including three guns. Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said, “All options are on the table at this point” as far as potential prosecution and “no one has been ruled out.”


The firearms recovered from the indie movie set included the weapon believed to have killed Hutchins (a .45 Long Colt revolver), as well as the spent shell casing. Mendoza also revealed that the lead shot that hit Hutchins was removed by medical personnel from Souza’s shoulder.

There were some 500 rounds of ammunition, a mix of live, dummy rounds and blanks, on set as well as potentially additional live rounds recovered. The Colt, fatal projectile and other ammunition are being sent to the FBI crime lab in Quantico, Va., for analysis.


Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza, with District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies (R), speaks to the press on October 27, 2021, about the criminal investigation regarding the fatal shooting and wounding of crew members on the set of the movie

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza, with District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies (R), speaks to the press on October 27, 2021, about the criminal investigation regarding the fatal shooting and wounding of crew members on the set of the movie “Rust.” (Photo by Nick Layman/AFP via Getty Images)

The sheriff said the three people who handled the gun — Baldwin, armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director David Halls — have all been cooperative in the investigation. 

It’s “too early right now in the investigation to comment on charges,” the sheriff said. “The investigation will continue and if the Sheriff’s office determines … a crime has occurred and probable cause exists, an arrest or arrests will be made and charges will be filed. Otherwise, we will complete our investigation and forward the full investigation and evidence to the district attorney for review.”

When Carmack-Altwies spoke, she made it clear, “I do not make rash decisions and I do not rush to judgment.” As for whether Baldwin could face charges, she said, “All options are on the table at this point. No one has been ruled out at this point.” 

Mendoza added, “Right now, [Alec Baldwin] is an active part of this investigation.”

Approximately 100 people were at the Bonanza Creek Ranch for the filming that day with 16 on the church set where the shooting took place. 

While taking questions from reporters, the sheriff acknowledged rumors there was target practice on the set, but urged anyone with first-hand knowledge about safety issues on the set to contact authorities.

He said there was “other ammunition in the gun” fired by Baldwin, and they suspect “other live rounds on the set.” However, he wouldn’t get into specifics pending the FBI testing.

When asked how two people inspected the gun and missed the fact that it was loaded before handing it to Baldwin to rehearse with, Mendoza said Gutierrez-Reed and Halls were interviewed. However, they currently have follow-up questions for them — as well as for Baldwin.

The sheriff also said while the industry generally has had a record “recently of being safe,” there appears to have been “complacency” on this set. “I think there are safety issues that need to be addressed by the industry.”

Also, he confirmed what has previously been reported that there was “no footage of the actual incident,” as they were rehearsing for a scene and Baldwin had been told he was handling a “cold gun,” meaning it had no ammunition in it.


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