Sheriff’s Department releases investigation into ‘rust’ shooting – but still no charges laid

Topline

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department released its 550-page report in the Rust filming, when cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed when a gun in actor Alec Baldwin’s hand fired at a film set last year, weeks after she handed the investigation over to the prosecutor of the state district, which has yet to decide whether or not to press charges for the incident.

Highlights

Prior to the fatal shooting, there were two accidental discharges on set, one involving prop man Sarah Zachry and the other involving a stuntman, according to multiple interviews between crew members and authorities.

Two days after the incident, Baldwin texted his assistant, “I need to delete my records,” though officials noted it was unclear what he meant.

The collection showed the vast scope of the year-long investigation, which included dozens of interviews, search warrants, glimpses of phone data and collections of DNA and fingerprints from key players , like Baldwin, Zachry, gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, assistant manager Dave Halls and ammunition supplier Seth Kenney.

After the shooting, some crew members had questioned Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s level of experience, others mentioned issues with Halls’ alleged disregard for safety, and some mentioned that Baldwin doesn’t did not want to undergo weapons training – although others have disputed these claims.

Key context

Much of the investigation focused on how the live ammunition arrived on the set and in the gun. There was never supposed to be real ammunition on set, only dummy bullets and blanks, forms of dummy bullets used on film sets depending on the desired effect. Baldwin denied pulling the trigger on the gun, although FBI analysis found that the gun he was holding could not have fired without the trigger being pulled (a test showed the weapon could fire without, even if it was the result of damaging the weapon). Baldwin, Halls, Gutierrez-Reed and others were sued by Hutchins’ widower, Matthew, for wrongful death, despite having settled in October. The production of Rust will continue, with Matthew Hutchins serving as executive producer on the project. Last week, Baldwin sued Halls and Gutierrez-Reed for negligence for giving him the loaded gun.

What we don’t know

It’s unclear when — or if — the district attorney will press charges for the shooting. When the case was referred to her office last month, New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said her team would conduct a review of the documents “in order to make a considered and timely decision. on whether to bring charges”.

Further reading

Sheriff wraps up ‘Rust’ shooting investigation, hands case over to DA (Forbes)

The ‘Rust’ shooting, more than a year later: Everything you need to know (Forbes)

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