By MORGAN LEE, Associated Press
SANTA FE, NM (AP) — Law enforcement officials released a wealth of video evidence on Monday as part of the ongoing investigation into a fatal October shooting of a cinematographer by the actor and producer Alec Baldwin on the set of a western.
Data files released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office include rear-view camera footage taken by a commanding officer as he arrives at a shooting ranch where medics tend to the injured, with a helicopter drain purring overhead. A search for the weapon leads to the film production’s gunsmith, who breaks down in tears.
Other videos show investigators as they debrief Baldwin hours after the fatal shooting, chatting with him in a compact office – and rehearsal clips that show Baldwin in a suit as he practices a quick-draw maneuver with a firearm.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said in a statement that his agency’s investigation remains open and ongoing pending the results of FBI ballistics and forensic analysis as well as investigations of fingerprints and DNA.
“The Sheriff’s Office is releasing all records associated with our ongoing investigation,” he said in the statement. These records also include ammunition photos of the set and examination reports.
At a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe on Oct. 21, 2021, Baldwin was pointing a gun at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins when it exploded, killing Hutchins and injuring director, Joel Souza. They had been inside a small church during setup to film a scene.
In video taken by police later in the day, Baldwin makes a few frantic calls as he awaits a meeting with law enforcement officials.
“You have no idea how amazing it is and how weird it is,” he says over the phone.
When questioned by two investigators, Baldwin reconstructs what happened when the gun exploded, still apparently unaware that Hutchins would die and shocked to learn he was holding a gun loaded with live ammunition. Baldwin said the gun should have been empty for a rehearsal without shooting.
“I pull out the weapon slowly. I turn around, I cock the gun,” Baldwin said. “Bang, it goes out. She (Hutchins) hits the ground. She goes down. He (Souza) falls down screaming.
Souza recounted his experience in a hospital emergency room, where he was treated for a gunshot wound and interviewed by investigators.
Souza described “a really hard kick, then I felt like someone kicked me in the shoulder.” He knew that Hutchins was also hurt and asked her if she was okay.
In the Oct. 21 video, Baldwin repeatedly says there were no prior issues of any kind with guns on the set of “Rust.”
These statements are at odds with more recent findings from state workplace safety regulators, which last week issued the maximum possible fine of nearly $137,000 against the “Rust” film production company.
The New Mexico Office of Occupational Health and Safety said Rust Movie Productions had to pay $136,793 and distributed a scathing account of safety failures in violation of standard industry protocols, including testimonials that production managers took limited or no action to remedy two misfires on set before the death. filming.
The office also documented gun safety complaints from crew members that went unheeded and said weapons specialists were not authorized to make decisions about additional safety training. Rust Movie Productions said it would challenge the findings and the sanction.
Baldwin said in a December interview with ABC News that he was on set pointing the gun at Hutchins per his instructions when it went off without him pulling the trigger.
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