Authorities in New Mexico said in a press conference Wednesday that they think there was “complacency” on the set of a movie, where actor Alec Baldwin shot dead a cinematographer.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza also said a lead projectile, which police consider to be a bullet, was recovered from the shoulder of director Joel Souza, who was wounded in the shooting.
“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. Mendoza added that there is no footage of the actual shooting.
During the shooting of “Rust,” Baldwin fired a gun he thought to be “cold,” meaning unloaded. The projectile hit Halyna Hutchins, who died on the way to the hospital.
At the press conference, District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said it is too early to decide if criminal charges will be filed in the shooting.
“If the facts and evidence and law support charges, then I will initiate prosecution at that time,” she said, adding “we are not there yet.”
Said the sheriff: “The investigation will continue and if the Sheriff’s Office determines during our investigation that a crime has occurred and probable cause exists, an arrest or arrests will be made and charges will be filed.”
“Otherwise, we will complete our investigation and forward the complete investigation and evidence to the District Attorney for review,” Mendoza said, adding that more interviews will be conducted.
The Sheriff’s Office has already said more search warrants could be coming.
The “complacency” comment comes after some on the set said live ammo was used after shooting for target practice. “We have recovered what we believe to be possible additional live rounds on set,” he said.
“We know that there was one live round as far as we are concerned on set,” the sheriff said. “We are going to determine whether we suspect that there were other live rounds. But that is up to the testing. But right now, we are going to determine how those got there, why they were there. [B]ecause they shouldn’t have been there.”
The sheriff also said officials have recovered “500 rounds of ammunition… a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what we are suspecting are live rounds.” On the recovered lead projectile, Mendoza later hedged, saying that he considered the “bullet live because obviously, it did fire from the gun.” But added, “Until it’s proven by the crime lab, it’s a suspected live round.”
As for who else was involved, Mendoza said: “We identified two other people that handled and or inspected the loaded prior to Baldwin firing the weapon. These two individuals are armorer Hannah Reed- Gutierrez and Assistant Director David Halls. All three individuals have been cooperative in the investigation and have provided statements.”
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