Authorities recover bullet believed to have been fired by Alec Baldwin from film
Authorities in New Mexico said Wednesday they have recovered a bullet believed to have been fired from the gun used by Alec Baldwin in last week’s fatal shooting on the set of the movie “Rust.” The announcement comes six days after the actor fired a gun that was thought to be safe while rehearsing a scene last Thursday on the set of the Western, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said a lead projectile, which police consider to be a bullet, was recovered from Souza’s shoulder. He said investigators have collected approximately 600 pieces of evidence, including what investigators believe was the gun fired by Baldwin, as well as “possible additional live rounds on set.” All of the recovered items will be sent to the FBI for analysis, Mendoza said.
Mendoza said they recovered about 500 rounds of ammunition from the set, which is a mixture of blanks, dummy rounds and “what we are suspecting, live rounds.” He said there were three firearms recovered on the set: the gun believed to be fired by Baldwin, a revolver that appears to have some kind of modification to the cylinder, and a plastic non-functioning revolver.
“I think there was some complacency on this set, and I think there are some safety issues that need to be addressed by the industry and possibly by the state of New Mexico, but I’ll leave that up to the industry and the state as to what those need to be,” Mendoza said. While there is camera footage from the scene, Mendoza said there is no footage of the actual shooting.
District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said it is still too early to press charges in the shooting.
“There’s a live round, which should never be there. That’s something that has powder inside of a casing, and it usually has a lead bullet or projectile at the end. That’s going to go out and harm somebody,” Gagliano said. “Number 2 would be what we call a blank, which means it’s got powder in it, it makes the noise, it gives the flash, but there’s no projectile in it. And number 3 is a dummy round, and a dummy round is simply mocked up or designed to look like an actual bullet.”
In a search warrant issued Tuesday, investigators said Hannah Gutierrez, the armorer for the set, told police that she “checked the ‘dummies’ and ensured they were not ‘hot’ rounds” on the day of the incident.
When the crew took a lunch break, the firearms were moved to a safe inside a prop truck on the set, the document said. The ammunition was not secured. Gutierrez said only a few people knew the combination and could access the safe, but did not specify.
Gutierrez said another woman got the guns from the safe and handed them to her once lunch was over, according to the documents. Gutierrez also told investigators that no live ammo is ever kept on set.
Assistant director Dave Halls told investigators that he only saw three rounds, which were not live, when Gutierrez showed him the gun after lunch.
“He advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t recall if she spun the drum,” the documents said.
Halls had handed the gun to Baldwin, who is starring in the movie and is one of its producers, investigators said in court documents filed last week. According to the documents, Halls yelled “cold gun,” indicating it didn’t have any live rounds. Investigators said Halls did not know there were live rounds in the gun when he gave it to Baldwin.
Souza told investigators he was looking over Hutchins’ shoulder as Baldwin rehearsed a scene in which he pointed the gun toward the camera, according to the documents. Souza said he heard what sounded like a whip and then a loud pop before Hutchins grabbed her midsection and Souza was bleeding from his shoulder.
Baldwin issued a statement on the shooting on Friday, calling it a “tragic accident.”
“My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna,” he said.