A newly released video evidence from the investigation of a deadly shooting last year on the set of the movie “Rust” shows investigators’ first interview with actor Alec Baldwin shortly after the incident.
Baldwin was handling a gun while rehearsing a scene at Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico in October when a shot was fired, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.
In the opening moments of his interview, Baldwin asks an agent if he is being charged with anything, to which the agent says no, the video shows. The agent explains to Baldwin that it is just an interview before reading him Miranda’s rights before the interrogation.
What you see in the video
The images of the interview, taken in a small room, show Baldwin describing the process of handling weapons and the usual steps that are followed on the set.
“Do you think someone would deliberately do this?” asks the interviewer.
“I can’t imagine who would,” Baldwin quickly replied.
The video is one of several files released Monday by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, including photos, recordings and reports related to its ongoing investigation, authorities said.
“Several components of the investigation remain pending, including the FBI firearms and ballistics forensic analysis along with DNA and latent fingerprint analysis, the New Mexico Medical Examiner’s Office findings report, and analysis of the Mr. Alec Baldwin’s phone data extracted by Suffolk County (New York) Sheriff’s Office investigators,” Santa Fe County Sheriff Adam Mendoza said in a press release.
What Baldwin Said
During his interview, Baldwin told agents that he did not know the last name of the gunsmith in the film, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, and that she handed the gun directly to him.
When asked if he physically checked the gun himself, Baldwin responded in general terms about the process the gunsmith checks the gun. He also described how Gutierrez Reed and his team helped equip Baldwin with a holster, a knife and a gun.
Speaking quickly, Baldwin explained the process of firing a gun with a blank that requires the actor to react to the shot as if the gun “bounced,” as they would when firing a live bullet. Baldwin goes through the motions of the scene, crossing his body and using his thumb and forefinger to simulate the gun sliding down his body.
“Bang! It went off, the first time,” Baldwin said of the gun used in the trial. “It was the first time we had filmed that take, we were rehearsing for that take.”
Baldwin’s attorney said the actor welcomes the investigation and said some of the information released Monday corroborates his description of events.
“The information that has been disclosed by the authorities demonstrates, once again, that Mr. Baldwin acted responsibly and had no control over any production issues that were identified in the OSHA (Office of Occupational Safety and Health) report. Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, said in a statement.
“In addition, the interviews and affidavits released today continue to corroborate Mr. Baldwin’s description of the events, including an affidavit from the Detective indicating that the cameraman, who was with Ms. Hutchins and Mr. Souza at the time of the accident, confirmed that Mr. Baldwin was ‘very careful’ with weapons on set,” the statement continued.
Rust Movie Productions, LLC was fined
Last week, Rust Movie Productions, LLC was fined nearly $137,000 and cited for having a culture of “complete disregard for employee safety” on set, according to a report by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health’s Office. Environment of New Mexico.
Gutierrez Reed’s attorneys told Citizen Free Press last week that he “was not provided adequate time or resources to do his job effectively, despite his expressed concerns.”
Reached for comment Monday, his attorney said they were reviewing the published material and would not comment at this time. Rust Productions LLC declined to comment. Citizen Free Press has contacted the supplier of the props used on set, but has not received a response.
Halyna Hutchins Widower Stance
The attorney for the family of Matthew Hutchins, the widower of Halyna Hutchins, said in a statement that he would not comment on the release of evidence.
“We were surprised by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office’s decision to release such a large amount of evidence today given that the investigation is still ongoing and active,” attorney Brian Panish said. “For this reason, we are not going to comment on the published material, except to say that we expect the press to exercise discretion in how they use the graphic images and video of the fatal events of October 21 of 2021.”
The Santa Fe County District Attorney’s Office will wait until the investigation into the fatal shooting is complete before making a charging decision in the case, according to a statement obtained by Citizen Free Press.
“The investigation is not complete,” said a statement from District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies. And she added that the sheriff’s office is still “waiting for essential reports and will not complete its investigation until those reports have been filed.”
“Once we receive the full investigation and conduct a thorough and deliberate review of all evidence, a criminal charging decision will be made,” Carmack-Altwies’ statement read.
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