Santa Fe County Sheriff: No One Off the Hook Criminally in ‘Rust’ Shooting

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza speaks at a joint news conference with Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies in Santa Fe, N.M., Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. New Mexico authorities said Wednesday they have recovered a lead projectile believed to have been fired from the gun used in the fatal …
AP Photo/Andres Leighton

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza warned on Tuesday that no one is “off the hook” for the October 21 fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust.

After being asked by Today if there is anything in the evidence that suggests criminal charges can be ruled out, Mendoza said, “It’s too early to rule anything out right now,”

“I don’t think anybody’s off the hook when it comes to criminal charges,” the Santa Fe County sheriff added.

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“It’s hard to determine right now the route that the case is going to go,” Mendoza told Today. “I think there was complacency on the set. There was disorganization, and a degree of negligence. Whether that rises to a criminal level, that will be up to the district attorney.”

In response to Alec Baldwin saying that he does not feel responsible for what happened on the set of Rust, Mendoza reiterated, “I think whether he’s responsible or not will be up to the district attorney’s office.”

After being asked how live ammunition get on the movie set, the sheriff said, “That was one of the key things that we were looking into,” and noted that investigators were provided with “concerning” text messages.

“Right now, no one has come forward and admitted to bringing the live rounds onto the movie set,” Mendoza said.

“There was information from text messages that was concerning — based on the fact that live ammo was spoken about, and was possibly used on a prior movie set,” he added.

“And that was just a few months before the Rust movie set and production began, so that is concerning,” the sheriff said.

Mendoza also noted that “the investigative case right now is 200 plus pages.”

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office recently released video footage of the chaotic scene following the on-set shooting, which showed initial conversations investigators had with Baldwin, the film’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, and prop weapons and ammunition supplier Seth Kenney.

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In an interview with deputies, Kenney said Gutierrez-Reed “wanted to shoot live ammo out of the guns, the TV movie guns.”

Kenney also provided investigators with a series of old text messages in which Gutierrez-Reed had reportedly asked for live ammunition during the filming of a previous movie — which is not allowed on set.

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

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