Never-Before-Seen Video and Crime Scene Photos Released in ‘Rust’ Investigation
On Monday, never-before-seen video from the “Rust” shooting investigation was released.
In October, Alec Baldwin, an actor and producer on the film, was holding the gun that discharged, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding writer-director Joel Souza on the set in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Now, the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department has released dozens of videos, witness interviews, photos, and other evidence from that tragic day.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said, “The files are all related to the ‘Rust’ movie set investigation and include lapel/dash camera footage from deputies and detectives, incident reports, crime scene photos, examination reports, witness interviews, set video and staff photos collected throughout the course of this investigation.”
There was a photo of the revolver that killed Hutchins, as well as a photo of her gray beanie that was left at the scene.
Other disturbing crime scene photos showed bloody gauze that was used on Hutchins before she was taken to a hospital.
In newly released video, Baldwin was seen talking with investigators on the scene of the fatal accident.
There is also bodycam footage showing Baldwin being photographed by a police technician on the set.
In a statement, District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said, “At this time, the Santa Fe County Sherriff’s Department has turned over a portion of the fatal ‘Rust’ shooting investigation to the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office. However, the investigation is not complete. The Sheriff’s office is still awaiting essential reports and will not be completing their investigation until those reports have been submitted. The District Attorney’s office must wait until the complete investigation has been turned over by the Sheriff’s Office. Once we receive the completed investigation and conduct a thorough and deliberate review of all evidence, a criminal charging decision will be made.”
Mendoza revealed that “various components” that were not included in the release were “FBI firearm and ballistic forensics along with DNA and latent fingerprint analysis, Office of the New Mexico Medical Examiner findings report and the analysis of Mr. Alec Baldwin’s phone data extracted by Suffolk County Sheriff’s investigators.”
Just last week, Baldwin’s lawyer Luke Nikas argued that the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau’s recent report “exonerates” him, putting the blame on “serious management failures.” In a statement, he said, “We are grateful to the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau for investigating this matter. We appreciate that the report exonerates Mr. Baldwin by making clear that he believed the gun held only dummy rounds and that his authority on the production was limited to approving script changes and creative casting. Mr. Baldwin had no authority over the matters that were the subject of the Bureau’s findings of violations, and we are pleased that the New Mexico authorities have clarified these critical issues. We are confident that the individuals identified in the report will be held accountable for this tragedy.”
According to the report, Rust Movie Productions LLC’s management “knew that firearm safety procedures were not being followed on set and demonstrated plain indifference to employee safety by failing to review work practices and take corrective action.”
The New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau fined Rust Movie Productions LLC for $136,793.
In a statement, Environmental Cabinet Secretary James Kenney said, “There were serious management failures and more than sufficient evidence to suggest that if standard industry practices were followed, the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins and the serious injury to Joel Souza would not have occurred… This is a complete failure of the employer to follow recognized national protocols that keep employees safe.”
Rust Movie Productions LLC plan to appeal the decision. It said, “Our investigation found that this tragic incident never would have happened if Rust Movie Productions, LLC had followed national film industry standards for firearm safety.”
Last month, Baldwin made an arbitration demand, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, explaining why he believes he is not liable or financially responsible in the “Rust” case.
Baldwin has been named in several lawsuits since the incident, but according to THR, he claims armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, assistant director Dave Halls, and the owner of the ammunition company used on set, Seth Kenney, were to blame.
The docs state, “Immediately before the handoff to Baldwin, upon information and belief, Halls had taken the gun off a prop cart after it had been loaded by the set’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the person responsible for gun safety and managing the operation of firearm-related props on the set. Reed claims to have personally checked all of the rounds to ensure that they weren’t ‘hot’ and then loaded them into the pistol.”
At the time, Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer told The New York Times that he was reviewing the filing, but did not comment.
Baldwin’s filing went on to claim that Halls previously told investigators he did not check every round in the gun before giving it to Alec. That is supported by a Times story in November that says Hall told investigators Gutierrez-Reed opened the gun for him to inspect, but “he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t recall if she spun the drum,” adding that he recalled seeing three rounds.
The papers further state, “Baldwin is an actor. He didn’t announce that the gun was ‘cold’ when it really contained a live round; he didn’t load the gun; he didn’t check the bullets in the gun; he didn’t purchase the bullets; he didn’t make the bullets and represent that they were dummies; he wasn’t in charge of firearm safety on the set; he didn’t hire the people who supplied the bullets or checked the gun; and he played no role in managing the movie’s props. Each of those jobs was performed by someone else.”
Kenney had previously shared a statement with the Santa Fe New Mexican denying responsibility. “Mr. Kenney never handled any of the weapons or ammunition on set, and never provided any direction or guidance to the actors, and was not responsible for the on-set handling of firearms or ammunition.”