Suspected live bullets found among 500 rounds of ammunition on Rust set, Sheriff says

·3-min read
 (BBC)
(BBC)

Suspected live bullets are believed to be found among 500 hundred rounds of ammunition on the Rust set where Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot dead, the Sheriff investigating said.

Cinematographer Ms Hutchins was killed when Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin accidentally shot her while working on the Western movie Rust in New Mexico.

County Sheriff Adan Mendoza told a press conference among the 500 rounds of ammunition there was “a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what we are suspecting is live rounds”.

He said police have recovered some 600 items of evidence - including three firearms and about 500 rounds of ammunition from the scene.

The County Sheriff said investigators believe they have the firearm which was fired by Mr Baldwin as well as a spent shell casing from the shooting.

He added a “lead projectile” was recovered from the shoulder of Rust’s injured director - Joel Souza - and handed over as evidence.

“We regard this specific spent casing and recovered projectile to be the live round that was fired from the revolver by Mr Baldwin,” Sheriff Mendoza said.

There were 16 people in the vicinity and they have all been interviewed, the Sherrif said.

Police identified the firearm shot by Mr Baldwin as an antique-edition F LLI Pietta Long Colt .45 revolver.

Court records say that an assistant director David Halls grabbed the gun from a cart and indicated the weapon was safe by yelling “cold gun.”

The film’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed said she checked dummy bullets on the day of the shooting to ensure that none were “hot” rounds.

She also told a detective that while the guns used for filming were locked up during a crew lunch break, ammunition was left on a cart unsecured, according to a search warrant released Wednesday ahead of the press conference.

Gutierrez Reed told a detective that no live ammo was ever kept on the set.

Mr Baldwin, Ms Gutierrez-Reed and Dave Halls all handled the gun, the Sheriff said.

Elsewhere in the press conference, the Sheriff confirmed cameras were not rolling during the rehearsal and there is no footage of the actual incident.

Asked if he was investigating the rumours swirling around the shooting.

He said: “I won’t talk about specifics but we are aware of those rumours or those statements that have been made and we are going to do our best to track those down.”

He added: “The movie industry does have a record of being safe but I think there was some complacency on set. There are some safety issues that need to be addressed by the industry and possibly by the state of New Mexico.”

Mary Carmack-Altwies Santa Fe’s district attorney, appearing alongside him, said she was still investigating whether complacency could amount to criminal charges but her “off the cuff answer is no”.

She added: “We haven’t ruled out anything [in the investigation].

“Everything at this point, including criminal charges, is on the table.”

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