FILE PHOTO: An image of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who died after being shot by Alec Baldwin on the set of his movie "Rust", is displayed at a vigil in her honour in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S., October 23, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Mohatt
October 26, 2021
By Lisa Richwine
SANTA FE, N.M. (Reuters) -Detectives recovered what they described as loose and boxed ammunition from the Western movie set where actor Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed a cinematographer, according to an inventory of seized items that was released on Monday.
Authorities did not say what type of ammunition they removed from the set of “Rust” and whether it included live or dummy bullets or blank cartridges. The items included two boxes of “ammo,” “loose ammo and boxes” as well as “a fanny pack w/ammo.”
One of the central mysteries about the killing of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins remains what kind of projectile was fired from the gun and how it got there. Investigators hope a forensic analysis of ballistic evidence will shed light on those questions, Juan Rios, spokesman for the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department, said on Monday.
“This is a complicated case,” he said.
In another revelation, a production company said the assistant director who handed Baldwin the gun and told him it was unloaded, had been fired from an earlier movie over a mishap with a gun.
Production company Rocket Soul said Dave Halls was removed from the set of the independent movie “Freedom’s Path” in 2019 after a crew member incurred a minor and temporary injury when a prop gun was unexpectedly discharged.
Halls could not be reached for comment.
Hutchins, 42, was killed and director Joel Souza, 48, was injured when a revolver that Baldwin was using during rehearsal discharged. The actor had been told the gun was not loaded, according to court documents.
The inventory list, filed in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court, showed investigators also had recovered three black revolvers, spent casings, a gun belt and other items.
The accident happened on the set of “Rust” at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe on Thursday.
Rios said investigators had interviewed Hannah Gutierrez, 24, who was responsible for the safety of weapons on the set, but gave no details. Gutierrez has not spoken publicly, and Reuters has not been able to reach her.
Baldwin, the director and others have also been interviewed but no charges have been brought.
Before the incident, camera operators had walked off the set to protest working conditions, according to a sheriff’s department affidavit. The probe into the shooting is examining information beyond what happened that day, Rios said.
Investigators “are looking at everything that should have been followed, from safety standards on down,” Rios said.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff and the local district attorney are scheduled to speak about the case at a news conference on Wednesday. Rios said it would take time for authorities to draw conclusions about what happened.
In her first public statements about the incident, Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria, said on Monday that “it’s impossible to express the shock and heartache of such a tragic accident.”
“My heart is with Halyna. Her husband. Her son. Their family and loved ones. And my Alec,” she wrote on Instagram.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Chris Reese)