During a damning press conference, authorities revealed that the gun actor Alec Baldwin used to fatally shoot Halyna Hutchins and wound Joel Souza did indeed contain real ammunition, and they did not “rule out” potential criminal charges against the celebrated actor.
The Santa Fe County sheriff said the gun discharged by Baldwin during a fatal shooting on the set of “Rust” fired a “suspected live round.”
“The facts are clear: a weapon was handed to Mr. Baldwin. The weapon is functional and fired a live round, killing Ms. Hutchins and injuring Mr. Souza,” Sheriff Adan Mendoza said at a joint news conference between the Sante Fe County Sheriff’s Office and district attorney’s office.
Cinematographer Hutchins died, and director Souza was injured at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe when Baldwin fired the FD Pietta Long Colt .45 revolver he had been handed while rehearsing a scene.
The sheriff said it was too early in the investigation to say if charges will be filed, but if investigators determine a crime was committed, “an arrest or arrests will be made.”
“[Baldwin is] obviously the person that fired the weapon, so we are going to continue interviewing and getting the facts of his statements and the evidence… he is an active part of this investigation,” Mendoza said.
Approximately 500 rounds of ammunition — a combination of blanks, dummy, and live rounds — have been seized from the set in New Mexico, Mendoza said. He said they believe the lead projectile that was fired from the gun was recovered from Souza’s shoulder.
When pressed on whether Baldwin could potentially face charges, Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said, “no one has been ruled out at this point.”
“All options are on the table,” Carmack-Altwies said.
“We cannot answer that question yet until we complete a more thorough investigation.”
She added investigators could not yet say whether the shooting was caused by negligence or by whom, but the three people who handled the gun – including Baldwin, armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director David Halls – are all cooperating, Mendoza said.
A total of three guns were seized from the proximity of the incident, Mendoza added. In addition to the one believed to have been fired by Baldwin, one was altered and not functioning, and the other was plastic.
The evidence will be submitted to the FBI for further processing, he said.
Those who were in close proximity to the shooting have been interviewed, and authorities are looking to also continue to interview the more than 100 people who were also present in different parts of the set.
Mendoza refused to speculate on how the live rounds wound up on set after the armorer told investigators “no live ammo is ever kept on set,” and the director told police, “there should never be live rounds whatsoever, near or around the scene.”
“We suspect that there were other live rounds, but that’s up to the testing. But right now, we’re going to determine how those got there, why they were there because they shouldn’t have been,” Mendoza said.