The District Attorney Says That Criminal Charges Are “On The Table” In The Accidental Shooting Death Of Halyna Hutchins On The Set Of Alec Baldwin’s Western “Rust”

October 27, 2021 / Posted by:

It’s been almost a week since the accidental shooting death of Halyna Hutchins, the director of photography on the film Rust, and each new detail revealed has been more horrifying than the last. In a joint press conference today held by the Santa Fe County Sheriff and the local district attorney, it was confirmed that Alec Baldwin fired a “suspected live round” that traveled through Halyna’s body, killing her, and lodged in the shoulder of director Joel Souza, injuring him. Scarier still, according to CNN, 500 rounds of ammunition were recovered from the scene, some possibly additional live rounds, in addition to three firearms including the gun Alec shot, and “the spent shell casing from the bullet that was fired from the gun.” While the DA won’t yet say what charges might be filed against whom, they did say that “everything at this point, including criminal charges, is on the table.

It was also determined that Alec was one of three people to handle the “antique-edition F LLI Pietta Long Colt .45 revolver.” As we know, assistant director Dave Halls handed Alec the gun after reportedly shouting “cold gun,” and the production’s armorer, Hannah Reed-Gutierrez, also handled the weapon. According to CNN:

Authorities in New Mexico are conducting a “thorough and objective” investigation into what happened on the “Rust” set last week, but no charges have been filed yet in the death of Halyna Hutchins.

During a press conference Wednesday morning in Santa Fe, Adan Mendoza, Santa Fe County Sheriff, confirmed that Alec Baldwin fired the weapon. Baldwin, armorer Hannah Reed-Gutierrez and assistant director David Halls have been cooperative with investigators, according to Mendoza.

About 500 rounds of ammunition have been seized from the set, Mendoza said. He said they believe the spent shell casing from the bullet that was fired from the gun and a projectile was recovered from the shoulder of Joel Souza, the movie’s director who was also injured in the shooting.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff said “we suspect there were other live rounds that were found on set” and that they are trying to determine how the fuck that happened. According to Variety:

Sheriff Adan Mendoza said that investigators recovered 500 rounds of ammunition, which included a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and, possibly, live rounds. The sheriff said that investigators are continuing to interview witnesses in an effort to determine how live rounds made it onto the set.

“We’re going to determine how those got there, why they were there, because they shouldn’t have been there,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza noted that film sets are typically safe, but said that in this case, “I think there was some complacency on set.”

CNN adds that AD Dave was previously “removed from the set and fired from the production” of a 2019 movie after “a gun ‘unexpectedly discharged’ on set, causing a sound crew member to recoil from the blast, halting production.

“Upon wrapping production for the day, Dave Halls was officially terminated and given the specific reasons for his termination,” The company continued. “Dave was very remorseful for the events, and understood the reasons he was being terminated. A new assistant director as well as a new armorer were hired for the duration of principal photography. Production of the film finished successfully.”

TMZ adds that in a newly obtained (by them) search warrant, Dave admitted to not having doubled checked the rounds in the gun before he handed it to Alec.

Assistant director David Halls — the person who handed the weapon to Baldwin and called it a “cold gun” — confessed when she showed him the firearm before rehearsal he could only remember seeing 3 rounds. He admitted he should have checked all of the rounds, and doesn’t remember if Hannah spun the drum before she handed him the gun, and he, in turn, handed it to Baldwin.

After cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and director Joel Souza were shot, Halls says he inspected the chamber and he remembers seeing at least 4 dummy casings with the signature hole on the side, and one without the hole. He said the one without the hole didn’t have a cap … the implication is it was the remains of a live round of ammunition.

Sources also tell The Wrap that on the set of the Nicolas Cage movie The Old Way, Hannah Reed-Guitterez, who was the head armorer on that production, was yelled at by Nic for discharging a gun without warning. And a crew member told the assistant director that Hannah needed to go because she was a “rookie.”

Obviously, we’ll have to wait for the investigation to wrap up before any possible charges are filed. CNN reports that the Rust production team has hired the law firm Jenner & Block to “conduct an investigation of the events,” “in addition to cooperating with authorities.” Best of luck to all involved because I’ve seen enough westerns to know that the Sheriff absolutely hates it when the Pinkertons show up.


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