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Police have recovered three guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, both dummy and live, from the Rust movie set, according to a press conference Wednesday. Among the evidence collected was the Colt .45 revolver fired by actor Alec Baldwin that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and a projectile that injured director Joel Souza last week.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said officials have interviewed the three people who handled the gun prior to Hutchins’ death: Baldwin, assistant director David Halls, and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. All are fully cooperating with the investigation, he said.
Baldwin, 63, shot and killed Hutchins, the 42-year-old director of photography on the film, on October 22 while the movie, a Western set in the 1880s, was in production in rural Santa Fe County. Baldwin also shot and injured Souza. In addition to the gun that fired the live round, Mendoza said authorities had recovered two other guns, including a nonfunctioning plastic revolver and another .45, which needs to go through testing before its functionality is determined. They also recovered clothing and approximately 500 rounds of ammunition, which included a mix of blank, dummy, and, authorities suspect, additional live rounds.
“We’re going to determine how [live rounds] got there, and why they got there,” Mendoza said. “Because they shouldn’t have been there.”
Though the gun Baldwin fired has been described as a “prop gun,” First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, whose jurisdiction includes Santa Fe County, told the New York Times Tuesday that was not an accurate description. “It was a legit gun,” she told the Times. “It was an antique-era appropriate gun.”
Both Mendoza and Carmack-Altwies said it was too early in the investigation to determine whether criminal charges will be filed.
“All options are on the table,” Carmack-Altwies said. “No one has been ruled out at this point.” Of Baldwin, Mendoza said: “He’s obviously the person who fired the weapon… right now he is an active part of this investigation.”
In the days since Hutchins’ tragic death, more disturbing details have come out about the incident and about the treatment of the crew on set. Just hours before the shooting, six camera operators walked off the film’s set, the Los Angeles Times reported. Three crew members told the LA Times that there had been multiple prop gun discharges during production, including one where Baldwin’s stunt double accidentally fired two rounds.
“There were no safety meetings. There was no assurance that it wouldn’t happen again,” one crew member told the Times. “All they wanted to do was rush, rush, rush.”
Crew members who’ve worked with Halls and Guttierez-Reed in the past have also shared details of disturbing incidents. Halls was fired from the 2019 movie Freedom’s Path after an accidental gun discharge, the production company behind that movie told CNN Tuesday.
And crew members from a Nicholas Cage movie that wrapped in August told the Wrap this week that Guttierez-Reed was the subject of numerous complaints, and that the veteran actor Cage once stormed off set after she fired a weapon without warning, saying, “Make an announcement: you just blew my fucking eardrums out.”
Mendoza encouraged people who can report similar incidents to call the sheriff’s office, and Carmack-Altwies said that what authorities find “will play into our legal analysis, and whether charges get filed or not.”
Asked about safety, Mendoza said “the industry has had a record recently of being safe.”
“I think there was some complacency on this set, and there are some safety issues that need to be addressed by the industry and possibly the state of New Mexico,” he added.
The producers of Rust told the crew earlier this week that production on the movie will stop at least until the investigation is finished.
“As we go through this crisis, we have made the decision to wrap the set at least until the investigations are complete,” the producers said in an email obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
“Although our hearts are broken, and it is hard to see beyond the horizon, this is, at the moment, a pause rather than an end. The spirit that brought us all to this special place remains.”