The early results of a tragic movie-set shooting with a pretend pistol shot by actor Alec Baldwin, which killed a cameraman and injured the director, will be discussed by law enforcement officials.
The news conference between Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, scheduled for Wednesday, promises the first detailed public comments from investigators about the killing of 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins during an on-set rehearsal at a ranch outside of Santa Fe.
In the age of seamless computer-generated graphics, the sequence of events on Oct. 21 has astonished Hollywood professionals and sparked demands to further regulate or even outlaw movie-set weaponry.
According to court documents, an assistant director, Dave Halls, retrieved the rifle off a cart and handed it to Baldwin, saying “cold gun” to indicate the weapon was safe. According to a sworn affidavit from a detective, it was loaded with live bullets.
Baldwin, 63, who is best known for his appearances in “30 Rock,” “The Departed,” and “The Hunt for Red October,” as well as his “Saturday Night Live” portrayal of former President Donald Trump, has called the incident a “tragic accident.”
Prior to the news conference, Carmack-Altwies told The Associated Press that the investigation is still in its early stages, with no decision on whether or not to pursue criminal charges yet made.
She stated that people engaged in the production were working with law authorities and that prosecutors will not fully analyze evidence until the sheriff’s office has completed an initial inquiry.
According to court filings, the pistol Baldwin used was one of three that a weapons specialist, or “armorer,” had placed on a cart outside the building where a scenario was being rehearsed.
Director Joel Souza, who was wounded while standing behind Hutchins, told investigators that live ammunition should never be present near the incident.
Three black revolvers, gun belts with holsters, ammo boxes, a fanny pack with ammunition, numerous expended casings and pieces of clothing, as well as swabs of what seemed to be blood, were confiscated by authorities.
Since its inception in early October, the production of “Rust” has been plagued by labor problems. Several camera crew employees walked off the site hours before the filming due to disagreements about working conditions, especially safety protocols.
Baldwin was unlikely to be found legally or civilly accountable for the disaster in his capacity as an actor. However, as a producer, he is one of a lengthy number of collaborators on the picture who might be held liable in some way.
Halls’ safety record has been questioned by colleagues on two prior projects. Halls has not responded to requests for comment through phone or email.
With the project stopped down, Rust Movie Productions claims it is collaborating with Santa Fe authorities in their inquiry and undertaking its own internal assessment of processes.