Authorities analyze investigations into Alec Baldwin case

Investigators plan to discuss their initial findings Wednesday in the fatal shooting on a movie set where Alec Baldwin fired a prop pistol, killing a cinematographer and wounding the director.

The press conference of Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies promises the first detailed public statements from investigators on the death of 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins during a trial at a New Mexico ranch.

The October 21 sequence of events has baffled Hollywood professionals and sparked calls to better regulate firearms on sets or even ban them in the age of realistic computer-generated imagery.

Court documents say an assistant director, Dave Halls, took the gun from a wheelbarrow and handed it to Baldwin, stating that it was safe to use by yelling “cold weapon.” But the pistol was loaded, according to a written affidavit from a detective.

+ Baldwin reaction

Baldwin, 63, known for his roles in “30 Rock,” “The Departed,” and “The Hunt for Red October,” as well as his portrayal of the former president. Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live” has described the event as a “tragic accident.”

Carmack-Altwies told The Associated Press before the press conference that the investigation is still in its early stages, far from any decision on whether or not to file criminal charges.

He said those involved in the production were cooperating with authorities and that prosecutors will not review the full evidence until the sheriff’s office completes an initial investigation.

The gun that Baldwin used it was one of three that a firearms specialist, or “gunsmith,” had placed on a cart outside the building where a scene was being rehearsed, according to court records.

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Director Joel Souza, who was standing behind Hutchins and was wounded, told investigators that there should never be live bullets present near the scene.

Authorities seized three black revolvers, holstered gun belts, ammunition boxes, a fanny pack with ammunition, several used cartridges, and clothing and swabs containing what was believed to be blood.

The production of “Rust” has been plagued by workplace disputes since the beginning in early October. Hours before the shooting, several members of the camera crew left the set amid disagreements over working conditions, including security procedures.

+ Theory

It is unlikely that Baldwin, in his acting role, will be held criminally or civilly responsible for the tragedy. However, as a producer, he is among a long list of film associates who could face some sort of liability.

Colleagues have raised concerns about Halls’ safety record in two previous productions. Halls has not returned phone calls or emails seeking comment.

Rust Movie Productions, the production company, says it is cooperating with Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and conducting its own internal review of procedures with the production shutdown.


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