Criminal charges could still be filed in the probe into Halya Hutchin’s death, US police have said. The focus of the investigation is on how live ammunition came to be on the set of the movie project where the fatal incident took place.
District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said that “all options are on the table” and that “no one has been ruled out” of potential charges.
Police made the announcement at a news conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico on Wednesday, six days after the movie-set shooting that left the 42-year-old cinematographer dead.
Investigators said that a “lead projectile” was removed from the shoulder of director Joel Souza and that it appeared to be a live round. Actor Alec Baldwin fired the gun that killed cinematographer Halya Hutchin’s on the set of their film Rust.
Santa Fe sheriff Adan Mendoza has said that officers are “not exactly sure of [Baldwin’s] present whereabouts”, although the actor is said to be cooperating with authorities and had not been instructed to remain in New Mexico.
Mr Bladwin has since been sighted in Vermont with family.
Santa Fe County sheriff’s office recovered 500 rounds of ammunition from the set of Rust
During Wednesday’s press conference, Santa Fe County sheriff’s office revealed that they recovered three guns, and approximately 500 rounds of ammunition from the set of Rust.
The bullets were a mix of blanks, dummy rounds, and, possibly, live rounds.
The sheriff further specified that one of the three guns collected from the set was a non-functioning firearm.
“There was a total of 500 rounds of ammunition — that is a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what we are suspecting [are] live rounds,” Sheriff Adan Mendoza said. “[It’s] too early right now to comment on charges at this point.”
A petition to ban the use of real firearms on set has garnered over 64,000 signatures
After the fatal shooting on the set of Rust took place, a Change.org petition addressed to Alec Baldwin that calls for a ban on using real firearms on set and demands better working conditions for crew has garnered more than 64,000 signatures.
The originator of the petition, who seem to have attended the same institute as Halyna Hutchins, wrote: “We need to make sure that this avoidable tragedy never happens again.”
“There is no excuse for something like this to happen in the 21st century. Real guns are no longer needed on film production sets,” they added. “This isn’t the early 90’s, when Brandon Lee was killed in the same manner. Change needs to happen before additional talented lives are lost.”
Towards the end, the petition-maker also demanded “Baldwin to use his power and influence in the Hollywood film industry to make a change and ban real guns on film sets.”
California senator to propose ‘live’ gun ban on movie sets
A California lawmaker says he will propose a “live” gun ban on movie sets after the fatal shooting on the set of Rust.
David Cortese, who is a Democratic state senator for Silicon Valley, said his legislation banning “live” ammunition on sets would “prevent this type of senseless violence and loss of life,” in reference to the Baldwin shooting.
“There is an urgent need to address alarming work abuses and safety violations occurring on the set of theatrical productions, including unnecessary high-risk conditions such as the use of live firearms,” Cortese said in a statement.
He acknowledged that the Rust shooting occurred outside of his home state, in New Mexico, but said: “It is important that California establish new safety standards and best practices for all those who work in the industry and particularly in our own state.
Megan Sheets has the full story
The shooting on the set of Rust sparked a flood of calls to bolster safety measures on movie sets
How live ammo got on Rust set is still a mystery
A week after the shooting on the set of Rust, accounts, and images released in court documents, interviews and social media postings have portrayed much of what happened during the tragedy, but they have yet to answer the key question: how live ammunition wound up in a real gun being used as a movie prop, despite precautions that should have prevented it.
Read the full story here.
Accounts and images from court documents, interviews and social media postings have revealed much of what happened when actor Alec Baldwin shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on an Old West movie set in New Mexico
Assistant director Dave Halls admits he didn’t fully check gun, affidavit says
Assistant director Dave Halls who handed over the prop gun to Alec Baldwin allegedly admitted that he didn’t thoroughly check it, according to new documents.
Halls allegedly told investigators that typically he would “check the barrel for obstructions,” and then armourer Hannah Reed-Gutierrez “opens the hatch and spins the drum,” before yelling “cold gun” on set.
But before the shooting on 21 October, Halls said he “could only remember seeing three rounds” of dummy bullets in the chamber.
“He (Halls) advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t recall if she (Reed-Gutierrez) spun the drum,” the documents state.
After the shooting, Halls said they opened up the gun and found four dummy rounds and one live round.
“He advised he could only remember seeing at least four dummy casings with the hole in the side, and one without the hole,” the documents state. “He advised this round did not have the ‘cap’ on it and was just the casing. David advised the incident was not a deliberate act.”
Film’s armourer reportedly told a detective that she had checked gun rounds
The armourer on the film Rust, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, told a detective that she had checked the dummy rounds on set to ensure that they were not “hot”, according to an affidavit released on Wednesday.
Dummy rounds don’t have a primer cap and contain no gun powder. Ms Gutierrez-Reed told detectives that the ammunition was left out on a cart on the set while the crew took a break for lunch.
Assistant director, Dave Halls, then took the firearm from the cart and handed it to Alec Baldwin before the shooting, court papers detailed.
Ms Gutierrez-Reed reportedly told the detective that no live ammunition “is ever kept on set”.
Alec Baldwin retweets article detailing how he was told the gun he used was ‘cold’
Actor Alec Baldwin has retweeted an article that claims that he had no idea that the gun he used contained live ammunition.
The article from the New York Times, retweeted by Mr Baldwin, described how assistant director Dave Halls declared the gun was “cold” before handing it to the actor. The article said that the assistant director had reportedly told detectives that he should have inspected each round in each chamber but didn’t.
Mr Baldwin also posted a second article a few days ago, originally published by Variety, which had the headline: “Alec Baldwin was told prop gun was safe before fatal shooting, affidavit says.
My colleague Alisha Rahaman Sarkar has the details.
The actor had earlier shared another article that suggested the prop gun was safe to use
Family of camera operator who died on film set says Hollywood needs to do more to protect its workers
The family of a camera operator who was killed on the set of Midnight Rider have said that Hollywood needs to do more to protect staff.
Camera operator Sarah Jones died from her injuries after she was hit by a freight train in 2014 while filming for the film Midnight Rider, a biopic about musician Gregg Allman.
Her father, Richard Jones, told Fox News that the death of Hayla Hutchins was a painful reminder of the dangers of film and television sets.
He said: “It hurts. We’ve been working on this so that it wouldn’t happen again. And yet it has. I had hoped that Sarah’s death would make a difference. I had hoped that Sarah’s death would even save lives. I would have hoped that Sarah’s death would have saved Halyna.”
My colleague Arpan Rai reports on Mr Jones’ interview.
Sarah Jones was killed on the set of ‘Midnight Rider’ in 2014 after a train struck her
Nicholas Cage allegedly complained about Rust amourer on previous film
Nicholas Cage had previously complained about the behaviour of Rust amourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reid, it has been claimed.
The actor allegedly worked with Ms Gutierrez-Reid on the film The Old Way, only two months before she went to work on Rust.
A crew member who was responsible for positioning cameras on The Old Way told the film industry website The Wrap that Nicholas Cage had burst out in anger at Ms Gutierrez-Reid’s behaviour.
Stu Brumbaugh, a key grip on the movie, alleged that Ms Gutierrez-Reid had fired a gun near the cast and crew. The incident apparently caused Nicholas Cage to shout: “Make an announcement, you just blew my f***ing eardrums out!”.
He also alleged that it was the second time that the armourer had fired a gun in three days and that Nicholas Cage stormed off set.
My colleague Sam Moore has more details.
Halyna Hutchins was killed on the set of ‘Rust’ after a gun was discharged by Alec Baldwin
Question of negligence could come down to the level of firearms training Baldwin received, says trial attorney
Trial attorney Jeff Harris had told CNBC that the question of negligence on the film Rust could come down to the amount of firearms training Baldwin received.
Mr Harris, who is not representing any party in the incident, told the American news network: “It may ultimately boil down to really a question of whether or not the actor was appropriately trained in the use of firearms, and that would fall on the production company, and it might absolve Baldwin of negligence.”
He added that gross negligence likely occurred on the set of the film. He said: “I frankly think that if you have a movie set where you’ve got live ammunition that is intermingled with dummy ammunition and intermingled with blanks, that’s the kind of activity that rises to the level of gross negligence, and I do believe that someone, ultimately, is going to be charged with at least criminal negligence in this case.”
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