Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza has held a press conference with the latest official information on the investigation into the death of Halyna Hutchins, victim of a gunshot while filming the movie Rust last week. Mendoza has confirmed that the projectile that killed the cinematographer was, indeed, a live round.
It is the same bullet that was recovered from director Joel Souza’s shoulder, also injured in the same accident when the gun handled by Alec Baldwin went off.
It remains unclear why the prop gun used and accidentally fired by Alec Baldwin was loaded with live ammunition, but the sheriff has also indicated that the police have recovered more real bullets from the film set. “We’re going to determine how those got there, why they were there because they shouldn’t have been,” Mendoza said.
The sheriff noted that film sets usually meet safety regulations when it comes to handling weapons, but that in this case “there was some complacency.” Regarding the information that appeared about members of the crew shooting at cans that same day with prop guns, Mendoza said that he is aware of what has been published and that the police will find out if it’s true. He encouraged witnesses who can provide information in this regard not to hesitate to go to the investigators.
On the possible legal consequences of this negligence, District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies stated that it’s too early to know if and what kind of charges will be presented. This week she stated that criminal charges weren’t ruled out. “We can’t say it was negligence, by whom or how many people were involved,” she added today, and called it a complex case that will require more research and analysis.