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Sheriff’s Department Releases Investigation Into ‘Rust’ Shooting—But Still No Charges Filed

Forbes 11/18/2022 Marisa Dellatto, Forbes Staff

Topline

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department released its 550-page report into the Rust shooting, when cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed when a gun in actor Alec Baldwin’s hand fired on a movie set last year, weeks after passing the investigation over to the state’s district attorney, who has still not decided whether or not to press charges over the incident.

Alec Baldwin speaks for the first time regarding the accidental shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, and wounded director Joel Souza on the set of the film "Rust", on October 30, 2021 in Manchester, Vermont. GC Images © Provided by Forbes Alec Baldwin speaks for the first time regarding the accidental shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, and wounded director Joel Souza on the set of the film "Rust", on October 30, 2021 in Manchester, Vermont. GC Images

Key Facts

Prior to the fatal shooting, there were two accidental discharges on set, one involving props worker Sarah Zachry and another involving a stuntman, according to several interviews between crew members and authorities.

Two days after the incident, Baldwin texted his assistant, “I have to delete my archive,” though officials noted it's not clear what he meant.

The collection showed the massive scope of the year-long investigation, which included dozens of interviews, search warrants, phone data overviews and DNA and fingerprint collections from key players, like Baldwin, Zachry, armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, assistant director Dave Halls and ammunition supplier Seth Kenney.

After the shooting, some crew members had questioned the experience level of Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, others mentioned issues with Halls’ alleged indifference for safety, and some mentioned Baldwin not wanting to undergo a weapons training session—though others disputed these claims.

Key Background

Much of the investigation has focused on how live rounds got onto the set and into the gun. There were never supposed to be real ammunition on set, only dummy rounds and blanks, forms of fake bullets used on movie sets depending on their desired effect. Baldwin has denied pulling the weapon’s trigger, though an FBI analysis found the gun he was holding couldn’t have fired without the trigger being pulled (one test showed the gun could fire without, though it was a result of the gun being damaged). Baldwin, Halls, Gutierrez-Reed and others were sued by Hutchins' widower, Matthew, for wrongful death, though they settled in October. The production of Rust will continue, with Matthew Hutchins serving as an executive producer on the project. Last week, Baldwin sued Halls and Gutierrez-Reed for negligence for giving him the loaded weapon.

What We Don’t Know

It’s not clear when—or if—the district attorney will press charges over the shooting. When the case was passed over to her office last month, New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said her team would conduct a review of the materials “to make a thoughtful, timely decision about whether to bring charges.”

Further Reading

Sheriff Completes ‘Rust’ Shooting Investigation—And Turns Over Case To DA (Forbes)

The ‘Rust’ Shooting, Over One Year Later: Everything You Need To Know (Forbes)

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