The Santa Fe district attorney said on Tuesday that criminal charges are still a possibility in the shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin’s film “Rust.”
The 63-year-old actor was rehearsing a scene with a gun that Baldwin was told was safe, or a “cold gun” that did not contain ammunition. Baldwin struck and killed the film’s director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, and injured director Joel Souza.
“We haven’t ruled out anything,” district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said in an interview with The New York Times. “Everything at this point, including criminal charges, is on the table.”
Carmack-Altwies commented that the investigation was centered on the rounds used on the set. The primary focus at the moment is figuring to exactly what type of round was given to Baldwin, and whether or not he or a crew member had loaded it into the gun.
“There were an enormous amount of bullets on this set, and we need to find out what kinds they were,” Carmack-Altwies said.
Detectives found multiple guns and ammunition–including three revolvers– while searching the set with a warrant.
Carmack-Altwies also stressed that the term “prop gun” was misleading and that the gun Baldwin used was a real one– which is common practice on movie sets: “It was a legit gun. It was an antique-era appropriate gun.”
Crew Members had walked off set due to working conditions before accidental shooting took place
The Los Angeles Times reported that the set had experienced a wave of crew member dissatisfaction before Thursday, with multiple people working on the production walking out over unfair labor conditions. Crew workers complained that their pay was not proportionate to the long hours and demanding environment of the low-budget western.
The report also claims that safety issues contributed to the crew members issues with the set, and that the gun had misfired twice by Baldwin’s stunt double during filming on October 16, days before Hutchins death took place. The stunt man, like Baldwin, had been told that the gun was cold.
Rust Movie Productions LLC, the film’s production company, said in a statement that they no official complaints had been brought to their attention, but that they will be reevaluating their safety procedures:
“We will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shutdown. The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company.”
Despite the new information provided by the affidavit, some weapons experts still believe that the blame falls on Baldwin for pointing the gun in the direction of the crew.
Bryan Carpenter, the armorer for Dark Thirty Films and a private military contractor, told The New York Post that “loaded or unloaded, a weapon never gets pointed at another human being, you never let the muzzle of a weapon cover something you don’t intend to destroy.”