Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies held a press conference on Oct. 27 to offer new insight into the fatal shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin’s movie, Rust. At the conference, Sheriff Mendoza confirmed that authorities were in possession of the firearm used by Alec, 63, that killed Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza. The gun was loaded with a live round, Sheriff Mendoza confirmed, and he said that testing is being done to determine if there was more real ammo on the Western film’s set.
“We’re going to determine whether– we suspect there were other live rounds, but that’s up to the testing,” the sheriff said. “Right now, we’re going to determine how those got there, why they were there. Because they shouldn’t have been there.” Sheriff Mendoza also confirmed that police obtained the “spent shell casing” fired from the gun Alec used, as well as the “actual lead projectile” that they recovered from Souza’s shoulder.
The Rust shooting occurred on October 21 at the film’s set in New Mexico. Initial reports stated that Alec had accidentally fired a prop gun and killed 42-year-old Halyna, while Joel, 48, was injured but recovered at a hospital. According to an affidavit filed in a Santa Fe court afterwards, the prop gun was one of three that had been set up for filming. The assistant director had yelled “cold gun” — an indicator that the weapon had no live rounds — when he handed it to Alec, but it was then discharged with live rounds.
Even before the shooting, the Rust set had its fair share of issues. A previous report from the Los Angeles Times claimed that prop guns had been accidentally discharged before, and that crew members walked off set to protest poor working conditions and were replaced by nonunion workers. Following the accident, filming was put on hold indefinitely and Rust‘s production company has promised to conduct an internal review of the on-set procedures.
As for Alec, he has not been officially charged for the shooting, nor has anyone else from the movie set. At the press conference, Sheriff Mendoza said it’s still too early into the investigation to determine if the accident will amount to criminal charges. However, the sheriff did note that “was some complacency” by the crew that led to the tragedy.