Officials confirmed on Wednesday that live ammunition, including the bullet believed to have killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza, were found on the set of the movie Rust last week after actor Alec Baldwin fired a gun as part of the action – but no. decisions have yet to be made on criminal charges.
“We believe we have the gun that was fired by Mr. Baldwin in our possession. It was the gun that we believe fired the bullet, ”Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said at a press conference Wednesday.
He added that his investigators believed they had also recovered “the worn shell casing from the bullet fired by the gun”.
The single, apparently live bullet that injured Souza and likely also killed Hutchins was found in Souza’s shoulder after he was treated for his injuries at a local medical center, Mendoza said in the update. of the investigation into last week’s tragedy on the New Mexico Plateau.
Mendoza also said officials recovered around 600 pieces of evidence, including three guns and around 500 rounds from the set of the desert western that was being filmed.
Any additional live ammunition, including the bullet that authorities say killed Hutchins, will be submitted to the FBI lab in Quantico, Va., The sheriff confirmed.
He declined to speculate, when questioned by reporters, about what happened to cause a single bullet to clearly kill one person and then injure another.
Mendoza said more interviews were yet to be conducted with people who had been on the Rust set, including possible additional interviews with Baldwin, who the sheriff described as “cooperative.”
The actor was also the producer of the film, where filming was interrupted and has not resumed since Hutchins’ death last Thursday afternoon.
Mendoza also confirmed that his office was investigating reports of informal target training incidents that took place on or near the set prior to the incident, and rumors of crew members drinking the night before.
“I think there was a certain complacency on this plateau,” Mendoza said.
He held the short press conference with Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.
Last Thursday, a gun that Baldwin was mistakenly holding unloaded ammunition as he rehearsed a scene for the desert western film, Rust director Joel Souza noted in a statement to the sheriff’s office.
Baldwin was “pulling the gun in a cross” from its holster while Halyna Hutchins, the film’s cinematographer, and Souza stood, checking the angles of the camera.
When the gun discharged, Hutchins, who was shot in the chest, was airlifted to the University of New Mexico hospital where she was pronounced dead. Souza was injured in the collarbone, taken by ambulance to a medical center, then released after receiving treatment.
Baldwin, who had pointed the pistol at the camera, was told by the crew that the pistol was “a cold pistol” meaning the pistol contained no ammunition and was safe to use.
Mendoza said on Wednesday that there were around 16 people near the filming location when the incident occurred, while there were up to 100 people working on set in total.
Carmack-Altwies said it could take several weeks for decisions to be made on whether actions related to the tragedy justified criminal charges.
A public vigil for Hutchins was held in Los Angeles on Sunday outside the union of which she was a member, serving as an unofficial memorial to the 42-year-old mother and filmmaker as well as an outlet for frustration and anger over low wages and to the poor. working conditions in Hollywood which many of the crew believed were linked to the death of Hutchins.
“We are here to cry. But I’m afraid we are also gathered with some frustration and a little anger. Anger because too often the rush to finish productions and shortcuts put safety on the back burner and put team members at risk, ”said Michael Miller, vice president of the International Theater Employees Alliance , addressing the participants.
After the shooting, affidavits released on Sunday into the incident presented more clues to what was suggested to be, in a way, a dysfunctional work environment on the Rust Plateau. Just hours before the fatal shooting, several crew members were out, unhappy with pay and working conditions as well as fears for safety.
David Halls, assistant director of Rust, had also been the subject of an internal complaint on a previous shoot. Maggie Goll, a props maker and licensed pyrotechnician, said she raised concerns about Hall’s conduct on set with the executive producers of Hulu’s Into the Dark TV series in 2019, where some members of the team feared for their safety. He hasn’t commented yet.
“This situation is not about Dave Halls… It is by no means the fault of anybody,” said Goll, noting that there were larger issues regarding the welfare of the crew that needed to be. resolved. “It’s a larger conversation about safety on set and what we’re trying to achieve with this culture,” she added.
Further concerns were raised about Halls on Monday, after a producer who contacted The Associated Press said Halls was fired from a previous job after a gun went off on a set previous shoot and injured a crew member.
The producer, who asked not to be identified by name, wrote that Halls “was immediately taken off the set.”
Baldwin was a producer on Rust as well as an actor. The district attorney previously said criminal charges had not been dismissed in relation to the incident on the set, but that the investigation would take at least several weeks.