Videos Show Baldwin’s Reaction to ‘Rust’ Film Set Shooting

SANTA FE, N.M. — The New Mexico sheriff investigating the fatal film-set shooting of a cinematographer by actor Alec Baldwin described complacency, disorganization and neglected safety measures in the making of the low-budget movie “Rust.”

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza indicated Tuesday that he was waiting for the FBI to conduct a weapon, projectile, and fingerprint analysis before turning the six-month old case over to prosecutors. This will determine whether or not criminal charges will be brought against Mendoza.

“There is a degree of neglect. Whether that reaches the criminal level, that will be up to the district attorney to determine,” the sheriff told “Good Morning America.” On Monday, he released virtually the entire case file of the investigation after a live round of ammunition killed Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza during rehearsal on Oct. 21, 2021. Filming took place on a ranch near Santa Fe.

A vast collection of law enforcement files has been released. This includes video from a lapel camera that shows Hutchins, a mortally injured man, slipping into and out of consciousness when an emergency helicopter approaches. The evidence collection includes witness interrogations and text messages, inventory of ammunition, hundreds of photos, as well as email threads.

In one newly released video, a sheriff’s deputy arrives as medics attempt to attend to Hutchins inside a small wooden church where she was shot during a rehearsal in preparation for filming.

“Halyna, deep breath. There you go, good girl,” says a medic, urging Hutchins to take in air through an oxygen mask.

An emergency helicopter arrives in the desert from outside. Baldwin continues to smoke cigarettes while a law enforcement officer looks on. Baldwin remains in 19th century costumes.

In response to requests from media for information, the evidence was made publicly as an attempt at transparency and accountability in the investigation. Mendoza is a Democrat and will be running for reelection in this year’s election with a strong June primary.

Newly published documents show authorities have scraped cellphone accounts for text messages, images and audio files created by the cast, crew and munitions suppliers for “Rust.” Text messages recount two firearms misfires on the set prior to the deadly shooting, though none involved live ammunition.

Other videos show investigators as they debrief Baldwin within hours of the fatal shooting, talking with him inside a compact office — and rehearsal clips that show Baldwin in costume as he practices a quick-draw maneuver with a gun.

An attorney for Baldwin says the newly released files corroborate that the actor and “Rust” co-producer was careful with guns on the set.

“Mr. Baldwin welcomes this investigation,” said attorney Luke Nikas in a statement. “The information that has been revealed by the authorities demonstrates, once again, that Mr. Baldwin acted responsibly.”

Baldwin said that while the gun went off, Baldwin was not aware that Hutchins was going to die. However, two investigators questioned him and discovered that Baldwin had been carrying a loaded gun with live ammunition. In a December interview, Baldwin stated that he had been on the set and pointed the gun at Hutchins upon her instructions when the gun went off.

Baldwin explained to the investigators the gun needed to be empty during a rehearsal without filming.

“There should have been nothing. It should have been a cold gun with no rounds inside or dummy rounds,” Baldwin says. “I take the gun out slowly. The pistol is cocked as I turn. The gun goes off. She (Hutchins) hits the ground.”

Baldwin repeatedly says there were no prior problems of any kind with firearms on the set of “Rust.”

Those statements conflict with more recent findings by state occupational safety regulators, who last week issued the maximum possible fine of nearly $137,000 against the “Rust” film production company.

New Mexico’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau delivered a scathing narrative of safety failures in violation of standard industry protocols, including testimony that production managers took limited or no action to address the two other misfires.

Also, the bureau documented crew member gun safety concerns that were ignored and stated that weapons experts weren’t allowed to take decisions regarding additional safety training. Rust Movie Productions indicated that it would contest the sanction and findings.

At least five lawsuits have been filed over the shooting, including a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Hutchins’ family against Baldwin and the movie’s other producers. The lawsuit on behalf of widower Matt Hutchins and his 9-year-old son alleges a “callous” disregard in the face of safety complaints on the set.

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