Authorities in New Mexico say they have recovered lead projectile believed to have been fired from the gun used by actor Alec Baldwin in the accidental shooting on the set of the film Rust.
Investigators discussed their initial findings Wednesday in the shooting that killed the movie’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and wounded director Joel Souza.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza says it’s too early to comment on whether any charges will be filed. He also noted that 500 rounds of ammunition were found while searching the set, south of Santa Fe.
The shooting has baffled Hollywood professionals and prompted calls to better regulate firearms on sets or even ban them in the age of seamless computer-generated imagery. Court records say that an assistant director grabbed the gun from a cart and indicated the weapon was safe by yelling “cold gun.”
Baldwin, 63, who is known for his roles in 30 Rock, The Departed and The Hunt for Red October along with impression of former U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, has described the killing as a “tragic accident.”
Carmack-Altwies told The Associated Press prior to the news conference that the investigation is still in its early stages — far from any decisions about whether or not to file criminal charges.
She said those involved in the production were co-operating with law enforcement and that prosecutors won’t fully review evidence until the completion of an initial investigation by the sheriff’s office.
The gun Baldwin used was one of three that a firearms specialist, or “armourer,” had set on a cart outside the building where a scene was being rehearsed, according to court records.
Souza, who was standing behind Hutchins and suffered a wound to the shoulder, told investigators there should never be live rounds present whatsoever near the scene.
Authorities have seized three black revolvers, gun belts with holsters, ammunition boxes, a fanny pack with ammunition, several spent casings and articles of clothing and swabs of what were believed to be blood.
On set disputes
The production of Rust has been beset by workplace disputes from the start in early October. Hours before the shooting, several camera crew members walked off the set amid discord over working conditions, including safety procedures.
Baldwin in his role as actor appeared unlikely to be held criminally or civilly liable for the tragedy. As a producer, however, he is among a long list of associates on the film who could face some sort of liability.
Concerns have been raised about Halls’ safety record by colleagues on two previous productions. Halls has not returned phone calls and email messages seeking comment.
Rust Movie Productions, the production company, says it is co-operating with Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and conducting its own internal review of procedures with the production shut down.