Santa Fe County Sheriff Adam Mendoza is giving more details about the ongoing investigation into last week’s fatal shooting on set of Rust.
On Thursday, October 21, Alec Baldwin, 63, was filming for the Western film when he pulled the trigger on a prop gun that was loaded with live ammunition, wounding director Joel Souza, 48, and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42.
The incident sparked an avalanche of questions about the situation, including why the prop gun contained a live round and who exactly is responsible for the deadly mixup.
Mendoza appeared live on Today on Thursday, October 28, where he explained that nobody is being ruled out just yet.
He told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie that the assistant director David Halls and lead armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are “obviously the focus of the investigation,” but that the famed actor is not out of the woods yet either.
“There’s three people that handled the firearm prior to the death of Miss Hutchins,” the sheriff said on Thursday. “So those people will be interviewed, are the focus of the investigation, and so nobody’s been cleared as of yet.”
On Wednesday, October 27, the sheriff confirmed in a press conference that the victim was killed with a live round, even though movie sets usually use blank rounds, or “dummy rounds.”
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“During the interviews, the focus of the investigation is: how the live rounds got there, who brought them there, and why they were there,” Mendoza added.
“The information that we’ve got in the industry is that there should be no live rounds on set so again, we’re going to try to determine why they were there and who brought them there.”
He also noted that Gutierrez-Reed’s previous statement — that no live ammunition is “ever” kept on set — was “not accurate.”
It was previously revealed that Halls, the film’s assistant director, was the one to hand Baldwin the gun while yelling that it was “cold,” or didn’t contain any live amo — an assertion we now know to be false.
Halls admitted that he wasn’t shown all of the rounds in the barrel before declaring the gun as “cold,” and that he should have asked to see all of the rounds to make sure none of them were live.
It is unclear whether or not Baldwin will face charges for the accident considering he was told that the gun was safe, however the sheriff’s department seems to be adamant in that no one involved in the tragic accident is off the hook just yet.