Rust investigation: Alec Baldwin possibly could have fired gun without pulling trigger, Santa Fe DA says

publish 2022-04-26,browse 6
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Fox News Flash top entertainment headlines 2/18 Fox News Flash top entertainment and celebrity headlines are here. Check out what clicked this week in entertainment.NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles! The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office is approaching the four-month mark of its investigation into the circumstances of "Rust" cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’ death on Oct. 21, 2021, in New Mexico, in which authorities are trying to get answers as to how a live round found its way into a prop gun — killing the rising filmmaker and wounding the film’s director Joel Souza.When the tragedy occurred within a church on the expansive ranch film set, in which a gun held by actor Alec Baldwin discharged the live projectile into Hutchins, 42, and then into Souza, 48, a spokesperson for the film production said filming would be halted and that it would "fully cooperate" with the Santa Fe Police Department’s investigation. They noted the company would also provide counseling services to anyone associated with the production.Baldwin, who also served as a producer on the Western, would go on to say in a December 2021 sit-down interview that he did not pull the trigger on the firearm supplied by the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, 24, and that he often replays the moment over and over in his mind."Everyone was shocked. The gun was supposed to be empty," he recalled of the incident. "I was told I was handed an empty gun. She goes down, I thought to myself, ‘Did she faint?’"ALEC BALDWIN AND WIFE HILARIA DINE IN VERMONT BAR CLOSED TO PUBLIC AS ‘RUST’ PROBE PICKS UP STEAM In October 2021, Alec Baldwin was holding a firearm that discharged while filming inside a church on set, killing "Rust" director of photography, Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza in Santa Fe, New Mexico. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong  |  Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie)In a social media video shared to his Instagram last month, Baldwin maintained that "no one wants the truth more than I do" and that he is "very hopeful that the people in charge with investigating this whole thing get to the truth as soon as possible."Meanwhile, Santa Fe’s district attorney, Mary Carmack-Altwies — who has worked as a public defender and later in a private capacity — spoke with Vanity Fair and told the publication that in her estimation following an "unofficial test" from her team, it is possible for a live round to be discharged from a firearm without the trigger being pulled.'RUST' SHOOTING LEFT FILM LOCALS 'ROLLING THEIR EYES' AT ALLEGED LACK OF SAFETY MEASURES: 'JUST UNTHINKABLE'Carmack-Altwies has yet to file criminal charges, and a full forensic report is expected in late-February, which many anticipate will speak to the make and type of ammunition that was used in the prop weapon, which was supposed to be housing blank dummy rounds.The D.A. said Baldwin’s adamancy that he did not fire the weapon came as a surprise to her when she watched the interview. During an interview with George Stephanopoulos, Alec Baldwin vehemently denied ever pulling the trigger on the gun that discharged a bullet, killing Halyna Hutchins. (Photo by Jeff Neira/ABC via Getty Images)"I didn’t know too much about guns, certainly not about 1850s-era revolvers. So when I first heard that, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s crazy,’" she said.Since Baldwin claimed he only pulled back the hammer on the old revolver, Carmack-Altwies said she suggested to one of her investigators that he bring into the office his own period-era revolver for a crash course in education and firearms inspection.‘RUST’ FILM SET SHOOTING ‘PUZZLING,’ NOT ‘SURPRISING,’ SAYS FORMER HOLLYWOOD CREW FIXER: ‘MAYBE IT’S CYNICISM’"One of the investigators in my office happens to have a very old type revolver, and so he brought it, at my request, so that we could look at it and see if that was at all possible," she told the outlet, adding that the room was cleared and two independent inspectors looked over the weapon — one who supplied the piece and another who verified it was empty."Then they visually showed me you can pull the hammer back without actually pulling the trigger and without actually locking it," Carmack-Altwies explained. "So you pull it back partway, it doesn’t lock, and then if you let it go, the firing pin can hit the primer of the bullet."Meanwhile, in December, Sheriff Adan Mendoza told Fox News Digital,"Guns don't just go off. So whatever needs to happen to manipulate the firearm, he did that, and it was in his hands."The Santa Fe Sheriff's Department has said it is awaiting results from the FBI that would shed light on how the gun could have been fired, whether that was just pulling back the hammer — which hits the firing pin — just pulling the trigger or both. Hannah Gutierrez Reed was tasked with providing the prop firearms used in the production of "Rust."  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong  |   instagram)In her Vanity Fair interview, Carmack-Altwies told the publication that she and her office are still investigating surfaced claims of sabotage and that some scorned members of the crew had allegedly been swapping real bullets into the prop weapons for leisurely target practice in their downtime. In the interim, she stated that she has "not heard anything yet that that actually occurred.""The notion that there’s sabotage — I mean, there is not one iota of evidence at this point," Carmack-Altwies added.‘RUST’ MOVIE WAS TURNED DOWN BY VETERAN PROP MASTER OVER ‘MASSIVE RED FLAGS’On October 27, 2021, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adam Mendoza revealed in a press conference that his team of investigators had retrieved three guns and 500 rounds of ammunition from the set in addition to "a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what we are suspecting [are] live rounds."Gutierrez Reed — whose father Thell Reed is a longtime Hollywood armorer — later sued a man by the name of Seth Kenney of PDQ Arm & Prop, LLC, alleging that Kenney supplied her "boxes of ammunition purporting to contain dummy rounds but which contained a mix of dummy and live ammunition." VideoIn addition to how a live round made it on the "Rust" set, concern about safety on the movie set has also been brought up.It was previously revealed that Lane Luper, one of the cameramen who walked off the job, texted unit production manager Katherine "Row" Walters days before Hutchins’ death to raise his concerns, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed Tuesday by attorneys representing Hutchins' husband and young son.'RUST' CINEMATOGRAPHER HALYNA HUTCHINS' DEATH SPARKS NEW MEXICO GUN SAFETY BILL FOR ACTORS"We’ve now had 3 accidental discharges," he told her, according to a screenshot of the message included with the lawsuit. "This is super unsafe.""Accidental discharge on the firearms?" she allegedly replied. "Awesome." VideoFurthermore, the film’s prop master, Sarah Zachry, 24, who held just two production credits to her jacket at the time of the incident, said according to a sheriff’s search warrant that "she found some of the cartridges would rattle.""However, others did not rattle" the warrant request suggested. "Sarah said this led her to believe some of the other rounds in that box were live ammo."'RUST' ON-SET MEDIC FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST MOVIE PRODUCERS AND CREW MEMBERSAfter further examination of Baldwin’s phone and communication records, Carmack-Altwies said she and investigators have to follow each and every claim regarding the supposed lack of safety measures applied and adhered to by cast and crew during "Rust" production."Certainly there’s a potential for a producer or producers to be charged if we have direct evidence that they willfully disregarded the safety of others," Carmack-Altwies said. "That’s why I keep saying everything’s on the table." Halyna Hutchins' family is suing for punitive damages, funeral and burial expenses among other stipulations to be determined in court. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images  |  Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie)Baldwin and numerous co-defendants are named in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Hutchins' widowed husband and son, including armorerGutierrez-Reedand assistant director David Halls, as well as production companies and producers, who are accused of flouting industry-standard firearm safety guidelines.The lawsuit names Baldwin and others who "are responsible for the safety on the set" as well as "reckless behavior and cost-cutting" which led to the death of Hutchins, according to the Hutchins' family lawyer.ALEC BALDWIN OFFERED NO HELP TO GUNSHOT VICTIMS ON 'RUST' SET, WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT ALLEGESHutchins' family is suing for punitive damages, funeral and burial expenses among other things to be determined at trial.In response, Baldwin's attorney hit back at the claim as he emphasized that the actor is continuing to "cooperate" with authorities on the investigation into Hutchins' death. Video"Everyone’s hearts and thoughts remain with Halyna’s family as they continue to process this unspeakable tragedy. We continue to cooperate with the authorities to determine how live ammunition arrived on the ‘Rust’ set in the first place. Any claim that Alec was reckless is entirely false," attorney Aaron Dyer said on behalf of Baldwin in a statement to Fox News Digital on Tuesday.'RUST' CINEMATOGRAPHER HALYNA HUTCHINS' DEATH SPARKS NEW MEXICO GUN SAFETY BILL FOR ACTORS"He, Halyna and the rest of the crew relied onthe statement by thetwo professionalsresponsiblefor checking the gun that it was a ‘cold gun’— meaningthere isno possibilityof a discharge, blank or otherwise," the statement continued."This protocol has worked on thousands of films, with millions of discharges,asthere hasnever before been an incident on a set where anactualbullet harmed anyone. Actors should be able to rely on armorers and prop department professionals, as well as assistant directors, rather than deciding on their own when a gun is safe to use," it concluded.Last week, "Rust" key medic Cheryln Schaefer also filed a lawsuit against themovie's producers as well as several crew members, claiming she can no longer work following her experience on the movie set.Carmack-Altwies did not immediately respond to Fox News’ Request for comment.Fox News' Lauryn Overhultz, Melissa Roberto and Michael Ruiz contributed to this report

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