Fatal shot on film set: gun apparently contained real bullet

Status: 10/27/2021 9:37 PM

After the fatal shot on the Baldwin film set, investigators assume that the gun used by the actor was loaded with a real bullet. There could have been more live ammunition on the set.

The weapon that actor Alec Baldwin used on the set of his western “Rust” probably contained live ammunition, according to police. The investigators announced this at a press conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The sheriff in charge, Adan Mendoza, said that there was apparently a real bullet in the 45 caliber revolver. The projectile released was said to have been secured. It was stuck in the shoulder of the injured director Joel Souza. The same bullet had probably killed the cameraman Halyna Hutchins before. However, to confirm it must still be checked whether the bullet came from the revolver fired by Baldwin.

Probably more live ammunition on set

According to the sheriff, there is evidence that there was more live ammunition on the set. Further investigations in a weapons laboratory are necessary for this. Accordingly, the police seized 500 bullets on the film set – a “mixture” of blank cartridges, dummy cartridges and probably also real bullets. “We’ll find out how they (the real bullets) got there, why they were there, because they shouldn’t have been there,” said Mendoza.

Investigators also revealed that they were aware of reports that crew members had used live ammunition weapons for target practice a few hours before the fatal incident. These reports are also being followed up.

In the incident while filming on a film ranch in New Mexico, the chief camerawoman Hutchins was fatally hit last Thursday. Director Souza, who was standing behind her, was injured. The main actor and producer Baldwin had fired the gun, now designated by the police as a 45 Colt revolver, during the rehearsal for a scene.

Prosecution not excluded

Prosecutor in charge, Mary Carmack-Altwies, did not rule out criminal prosecution – not even for Baldwin. All options were on the table, she said at the joint press conference with Sheriff Mendoza. However, more time is needed to fully complete the investigation. Everyone involved, including Baldwin, would cooperate with the police.

Carmack-Altwies did not want to comment on a possible charge and against whom it would be directed. It could be weeks, if not months, before a possible indictment could be brought. She explained that this was one of her most difficult cases and asked for patience:

I must stress that an in-depth investigation is essential to this case. We’re still under investigation. So it is too early to decide whether to prosecute. However, if the evidence is sufficient, I will.

Reports: Employees fired in 2019 due to a similar incident

The investigations also focus on the two employees on the set who handled the guns: a 24-year-old gun master and the assistant director to whom Baldwin handed the gun. According to a police report, the assistant director had told the actor that it was a “cold weapon” without ammunition. According to his own statement, the assistant did not know that there was a cartridge in the weapon.

This employee was fired in 2019 because of a similar incident in a film, numerous US media had previously reported. When shooting “Freedom’s Path”, a sound technician was slightly injured after a gun went off unexpectedly on the set, it was said, citing the production company of the film.

Criticism of weapon master

According to media reports, criticism was also raised against the young gunsmith, who was responsible for the proper handling of all weapons on the set. “Rust” was reportedly only the second film she was involved in in this capacity.

The AP news agency reported, citing documents, that the woman told investigators that on the day of the incident she had checked the dummy cartridges to make sure there were no live ammunition. The weapons used for filming were locked in during the lunch break. However, the ammunition was lying on an unsecured trolley, but live ammunition was never kept on the set.

With information from Marcus Schuler, ARD Studio Los Angeles

Investigations in Santa Fe into the “Baldwin case” are ongoing

Marcus Schuler, ARD Los Angeles, October 27, 2021 9:36 pm


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