Criminal Charges 'Not Ruled Out' After Accidental Prop-Gun Shooting Death Of Halyna Hutchins By Alec Baldwin
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - With the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, killed when actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of the Western film "Rust" last week in New Mexico, the Santa Fe District Attorney said criminal charges have not been ruled out.
In an interview with the New York Times, Mary Carmack-Altwies said they "haven't ruled anything out" when it comes to investigating the shooting.
A lawmaker wants legislation banning live ammunition and guns on film sets.
New details have emerged in the movie set tragedy that claimed the life of 42-year-old Hutchins.
According to an affidavit, director Joel Souza told investigators they were rehearsing a scene that "entailed actor Alec Baldwin cross-drawing his weapon and pointing the revolver towards the camera lens."
The director said while Baldwin was rehearsing with the gun "he heard what sounded like a whip and then a loud pop."
Hutchins was fatally shot. Souza was wounded.
Souza said that he remembered the phrase "cold gun" being used on set, meaning the gun was safe.
"If someone actually put a live round in there, number one that shouldn't have been on the set, and number two, they should have visually inspected it, looked down the barrel and a flashlight to make sure there were no obstructions in the mechanism," armorer Bill Davis said.
Souza also said guns on the film's set were supposed to be checked by the film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, and then checked again by Dave Halls, the assistant director who handed the gun to Baldwin.
CBS News has learned that Halls was fired from a previous movie after a gun incident on that set injured a crew member.
In the wake of this stunning and horrific tragedy, California State Senator Dave Cortese is calling for a ban on live ammunition on theatrical productions.
"Why are we still doing this? When we are filming a western, you don't have to have the same rules of engagement for props as people did 100 years ago in the wild west. You can't toss somebody a gun, let alone tossing somebody a gun without checking it," State Senator Cortese said.
As authorities in New Mexico continue their investigation, there are questions about the legal fallout.
According to Attorney Royal Oakes, Baldwin could potentially face legal exposure in two ways. He could be convicted of a crime, but that is unlikely. The actor could also be sued for wrongful death and millions could be awarded.
As for Hall and Gutierrez, Oakes said the charge in a criminal case would be involuntary manslaughter. They didn't intend to kill, but a death resulted from their reckless behavior.
RELATED: Vigil Held To Honor Life Of Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins
For loved ones, however, the real tragedy is the loss of Hutchins.
"I'm just sad that, you know, her son will grow up without a mother, without a beautiful mother that was," her friend Dennis Zanatta said.
Production on the film has officially been stopped, though no charges have been filed so far. It's not clear that charges will even come about. The district attorney and local sheriff in New Mexico are scheduled to hold a press conference Wednesday.
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