SANTA FE, N.M. (CBSLA) – Authorities provided new details Wednesday about the shooting death of a Los Angeles cinematographer on a film set in Santa Fe, New Mexico, last week when actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun during rehearsal.
In a morning news conference, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza confirmed that a single live round from a Pietta Colt .45 revolver fired by Baldwin struck and killed 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins and wounded 48-year-old Joel Souza.
Mendoza disclosed that a total of about 500 rounds of ammunition were seized from the movie set. They included blanks, dummy rounds and what investigators suspect are other live rounds.
"We have recovered what we believe to be possible, additional, live rounds on set," Mendoza said.
There were no other live rounds found in the chamber of Baldwin's gun after the shooting, Mendoza said.
"I think there was some complacency on this set, and I think there are some safety issues that need to be addressed by the industry," Mendoza said.
Santa Fe County District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said prosecutors have not yet decided whether to bring criminal charges.
"If the facts and evidence and law support charges, than I will initiate prosecution at that time," Carmack-Altwies told reporters.
On the afternoon of Oct. 21, Hutchins, the director of photography on the Western film "Rust," and Souza, the film's director, were shot when actor Alec Baldwin discharged a prop firearm at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe.
The 63-year-old Baldwin was inside a church building, sitting on a wooden pew, rehearsing unholstering his prop gun and pointing it at the camera when he fired it, according to a search warrant filed by investigators. Hutchins was hit in the chest and Souza in the shoulder.
Hutchins was rushed by helicopter to a hospital, where she died. Souza survived.
Mendoza confirmed that the fired "lead projectile" was removed by doctors from Souza's shoulder.
"We regard this specific spent casing, and recovered projectile, to be the live round that was fired from the revolver by Mr. Baldwin," Mendoza said.
There were about 16 people inside the church at the time of the shooting, and a total of about 90 on set. There is no footage of the actual incident, authorities said.
The "loaded firearm" was "handled and/or inspected" by armor Hannah Gutierrez Reed and assistant director Dave Halls prior to it being fired by Baldwin, Mendoza said.
Mendoza confirmed a total of three firearms were located in the area of the shooting. According to the affidavit filed by investigators, Halls had handed Baldwin the prop gun and yelled that it was a "cold gun," meaning it was not loaded with live ammunition. Reed had purportedly brought three guns to the set on a rolling cart, one of which was handed to Baldwin, the search warrant reads.
Halls told detectives he did not know that there were live rounds in the gun, the affidavit states.
According to another affidavit filed Wednesday, Halls acknowledged to investigators that he did not check all of the rounds in the weapon before handing it to Baldwin and declaring it a "cold gun," the Los Angeles Times reports. He told investigators that Reed showed him the weapon earlier and "he could only remember seeing three rounds. He advised he should have checked all of them, but didn't, and couldn't recall if she (Reed) spun the drum."
"No one has been ruled out at this point," Carmack-Altwies responded when asked if Baldwin, who is listed as a producer on the film, could face charges. Authorities could not say if Baldwin was in New Mexico or had left the state.
Live rounds are not allowed on film and television sets. Mendoza said the investigation will look at how at least one live round made it onto the set.
"We know there was one live round, as far we're concerned, on set," Mendoza said. "We're gonna determine whether, we suspect that there were, other live rounds, but that's up to the testing. But right now, we're gonna determine how those got there, and why they were there, because they shouldn't have been there."
Earlier that day, prior to the shooting, several camera operators and assistants had walked off the set to protest working conditions, the Los Angeles Times reported over the weekend.
Several crew members also told the Times that on Oct. 16, Baldwin's stunt double accidentally fired two rounds from a gun he had also been told was cold.
Meanwhile Sharon Waxman, editor in chief of The Wrap, told CBSLA Tuesday that multiple people may have handled the gun the day of the shooting.
"Crew members who had gone off and done sort of, passing the time, fun, shooting at targets out in the desert, before this shooting occurred. With guns from the set, including the gun that killed Halyna Hutchins," Waxman said.
"We are aware of those statement, and we are investigating whether that is true or whether it isn't true," Mendoza responded, when asked about Waxman's claims. "And I would encourage anybody that has any information that any target practicing or any firearm was discharged away from the movie set, or for practice, for any reason, to contact the sheriff's office."
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