‘Rust’ shooting investigator says ‘degree of negligence’ found on set, criminal charges will be with DA


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The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office is trying to be “transparent” about the investigation into the fatal “Rust” shooting that happened Oct. 21.

The department on Monday released all body camera footage, crime scene photos, witness interviews and text messages obtained so far throughout the investigation. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died on the set of “Rust” after a gun Alec Baldwin was holding unloaded.

Despite the release of the evidence, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza stressed during an appearance on “Today” Tuesday morning that the investigation into the shooting is not complete.

“We are still awaiting forensic analysis from the FBI lab, as well as the final report from the Office of the Medical Investigator, and there are some things we need to verify as part of the investigation.”

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“It is difficult to determine at this time the path the case will take,” Mendoza said. “I’ve said this before, I think there was complacency on set. There was disorganization and a degree of negligence – whether it gets to a criminal level will be up to the district attorney.”

The sheriff said Alec Baldwin’s level of responsibility in the shooting would also be determined by the district attorney.

The sheriff’s department has yet to figure out how live ammunition made its way onto the set, and no one from the “Rust” cast or crew has offered any information.

However, text messages—released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department—between gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez Reed and supplier Seth Kenney discussed live ammunition.

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“There were text messages containing concerning information based on the fact that live ammunition had been discussed and possibly used on a previous film set. But this was only a few months before production on the film set began” Rust “and so it’s concerning,” Mendoza explained.

Mendoza noted that the release of the images and documents was part of a request for public records, but explained that it was also an attempt at “transparency”.

“Well, I think the main point is that it was a request for public records demanding that we release the information, but it was also an attempt to be transparent in the investigation,” Mendoza said.

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Alec Baldwin says he didn’t pull the trigger on the gun he was holding when cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot on the set of “Rust.”
(Jeff Neira/ABC via Getty Images)

Mendoza said it took the department “a while” to get the “massive amount of information” ready for release.

“We tried to release it as soon as we had it all together, and we had a way to leak the information.”


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