Actor Alec Baldwin fired a vintage Colt pistol loaded with a live lead round in the accidental fatal shooting last week of a cinematographer on the New Mexico set of his movie, Rust, US authorities said.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies held a briefing six days after Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded the director during a rehearsal for a western movie inside a church on set in New Mexico.
No one has been charged. Mendoza and Carmack-Altwies have said it is too early to discuss charges but that charges would be filed if warranted.
“No one has been ruled out at this point,” Carmack-Altwies said referring to potential charges. She said the investigation is not yet concluded.
Authorities have the firearm used in the shooting, the sheriff said.
About 500 rounds of ammunition — a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and live rounds — were found while searching the set, authorities said.
The sheriff said Baldwin has been cooperative in the investigation.
“He’s obviously the person that fired the weapon,” Mendoza said of the Long Colt revolver. “Right now, he is an active part of this investigation.”
The sheriff also said there was “complacency” on the set regarding firearms.
The shooting has sent shockwaves through Hollywood, prompting a debate about safety protocols in film and television, including whether certain types of guns used as props should be banned, and working conditions on low-budget productions.
Authorities have said in court filings that Baldwin last Thursday was handed what he thought was a “cold,” or safe, gun by the film’s assistant director David Halls, who took it from a cart used by Hannah Gutierrez, who was employed to oversee firearms and their safety in a job called an armourer.
The gun instead contained what police called “live rounds,” and a shot hit Hutchins in the chest and director Joel Souza, standing behind her, in the shoulder. Hutchins was transported by helicopter to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Souza was treated at a hospital and released.
The lead round was recovered from Souza, Mendoza said.
Baldwin, 63, serves as a co-producer of Rust, a Western film set in 1880s Kansas, and plays an outlaw grandfather of a 13-year-old boy convicted of an accidental killing.
Before the incident, camera operators had walked off the set to protest working conditions, according to the affidavit.