Authorities in New Mexico have not ruled out the possibility of multiple charges in Alec Baldwin’s fatal shooting on set, including for the actor himself.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies offered their first public update on the case Wednesday, nearly a week after Baldwin fired a propeller pistol on the set of his movie Rust, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.
Mr Mendoza said the weapon used in the shooting was handled by two people in addition to Baldwin: gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director David Halls.
The sheriff said it was too early to say whether criminal charges were warranted. “The investigation will continue, and if the sheriff’s office determines during our investigation that a crime has been committed and a probable cause exists, one or more arrests will be made and charges laid,” he said. -he declares.
Asked about the possibility of Baldwin facing charges, Mr Mendoza said: “No one was excluded” and noted: “He was the one who fired the gun.”
Ms Carmack-Altwies then took the floor to confirm that her office is ready to lay charges if the investigation finds sufficient evidence to do so.
“I must stress that a full and thorough investigation is essential for the prosecutor’s review,” she said. “We’re taking the corroborated facts and evidence and connecting them to New Mexico law, and we’re not there yet.”
“If the evidence and the law support the charges, then I will prosecute at that time. I am a prosecutor who was elected in part because I do not make rash decisions and I do not rush to judge, ”she added.
Mr Mendoza said around 500 rounds of ammunition were recovered from the set, including the projectile that passed through Ms Hutchins before hitting Mr Souza in the shoulder.
“I won’t comment further on how they got there,” the sheriff said of the ammunition. “This investigation is active, so I won’t comment on how they got there, but we suspect they are there. This will be determined when the tests are done by the crime lab with reference to whether or not these are officially live rounds. “
Mr Mendoza said an investigation was still underway to find out how the crew members obtained a firearm with a live ammunition and if any other live ammunition was on the set.
“The people who inspected or handled the firearm when it was loaded before it reached Mr. Baldwin – we question them. And there [are] some follow-up questions that we need to do, ”he said.
“We know there was a live turn, as far as we are concerned, on the set. We will determine if we suspect there have been other live rounds, but that depends on testing. But now we’re going to find out how these got there, why they were there, because they shouldn’t have been there.
In an interview with The New York Times Ms Carmack-Altwies said on Tuesday investigators were focusing on ballistics to determine what type of cartridge killed Ms Hutchins and who placed the ammunition in the weapon.
She said a search warrant executed on the set at Bonanza Creek Ranch found “an enormous amount of bullets on this plateau” as well as three guns, used casings and ammunition.
“We have to find out what genre it is,” she said.
Ms Carmack-Altwies said it would be “weeks, if not months, of a follow-up investigation that we will need to get to the point of indictment.”
Baldwin fired the gun on October 21 when he pointed it at the camera while practicing a “cross-draw” technique inside a church, according to a court affidavit.
The pistol had been placed on a cart outside the church by Mrs. Gutierrez-Reed, the film’s gunsmith, and was handed over to Baldwin by Mr. Halls, the assistant director.
Mr Halls said it was a “cold weapon”, saying it did not contain live ammunition.
It later emerged that Mr Halls was fired from a movie in 2019 after a propeller pistol accidentally fired on the set of the film Path to freedom, injuring a crew member.
Ms Carmack-Altwies said investigators were still interviewing witnesses to determine who might be responsible for the shooting.
Baldwin said he was “fully cooperating” with the investigation and said his “heart was broken” for Ms Hutchins’ family.
The tragedy sparked a flood of calls to tighten the regulation of guns on film sets, or even ban them and replace them with CGI.
The Independent Gt