Santa Fe D.A.: Baldwin ‘Pulled the Trigger,’ Doesn’t Mean Charges Will Be Filed, ‘Doesn’t Mean They Won’t’

Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal/Sonia Recchia/Getty Images/Instagram via New York Post
Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal/Sonia Recchia/Getty Images/Instagram via New York Post

Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies told NBC News’ Tom Llamas that actor Alec Baldwin “pulled the trigger” on the Rust film set, which doesn’t mean that charges will be filed against him, but it also “doesn’t mean they won’t.”

“[Baldwin]’s the one that pulled the trigger. He’s the one that was holding the gun, and so he’s very important [to the investigation],” Carmack-Altwies told Llamas.  “Does that mean that charges will be filed? Not necessarily. It also doesn’t mean that they won’t be filed.”

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Last week, Baldwin was rehearsing with a gun that he had been told did not contain live ammunition. At some point during the rehearsal, the actor pulled the trigger, fatally shooting the film’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and wounding its director, Joel Souza.

Carmack-Altwies told Llamas that the question of how two people inspected a gun and not know there was a live round in it remains to be answered, “and is probably the linchpin of the entire case.”

“I think corners were definitely cut on this set,” the district attorney said.

Carmack-Altwies added that this particular investigation is “very challenging,” as it involves “a movie set that gets used a lot.”

“There are spent casings, I think, all over the place on that ranch,” she said. “And so, discerning which spent casing is from the Rust production, and which is from some other production earlier in the year is pretty difficult.”

The firearm Baldwin used was one of three that the film’s head armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed had set on a cart outside a church where a scene was being rehearsed. The gun was later picked up by assistant director Dave Halls, who brought it to Baldwin, informing the actor it was a “cold gun” — meaning the firearm didn’t have any live rounds in it.

Rust was Gutierrez-Reed’s second job as a head armorer on a movie set.

The 24-year-old’s first job as armorer was on the set of The Old Way, where she reportedly infuriated the film’s star, Nicolas Cage, who yelled “you just blew my fucking eardrums out!” at Gutierrez-Reed while on set, according to a crew member who spoke with TheWrap.

In a September interview on the Voices of the West podcast, Gutierrez-Reed said she “almost didn’t take” her job on the set of The Old Way due to fears that she was not “ready.”

After being asked why it is too early to comment on charges, given that the shooting happened last week, the district attorney said, “Not everyone has been interviewed.”

“I think it will really depend on the investigation finding out where those live rounds came from, who or what put them there, how they got mixed in with dummy bullets, what all of safety protocols were not followed, and who all knew about it,” Carmack-Altwies told Llamas.

In response to Llamas on whether Carmack-Altwies “can promise” the family of Hutchins that they will get justice, the district attorney said, “I think that depends on what the family of Halyna Hutchins views as justice.”

On Tuesday, Carmack-Altwies told the New York Times that criminal charges in the shooting on the Rust set have not been ruled out.

Carmack-Altwies added that she takes issue with the firearm used being described as a “prop gun,” as that terminology could confuse people, making them believe the firearm was not real. “It was a legit gun,” the district attorney clarified.


You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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