The Santa Fe County, New Mexico Sheriff’s Office held a press conference on Wednesday to announce their initial findings in the investigation into Alec Baldwin’s accidental shooting on the Rust movie set last week. According to a report by The Los Angeles Times, authorities announced that they discovered about 500 rounds of ammunition on the movie set. They also confirmed that the projectile which killed cinematography Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza was a lead bullet.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adam Mendoza told reporters that his team recovered the stash of ammo, one spent shell casing and the bullet which was removed from Souza at an area hospital last week. He said that all of this evidence, along with “possible additional live rounds,” will be submitted to the FBI crime lab in Quantico, Virginia, for further analysis. He described the firearm that killed Hutchins as a Colt .45 revolver, and the 500 rounds of ammo included a mixture of “blanks, dummy rounds and what we are suspecting were live rounds.”
“We have collected about 600 items of evidence,” Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza says on fatal movie set shooting investigation.
“These include, but are not limited to, three firearms, approximately 500 rounds of ammunition, and several pieces of clothing and accessories.” pic.twitter.com/1iWhRInUEr
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 27, 2021
Mendoza confirmed that there were more rounds loaded into the gun but could not say whether they were blanks or live ammunition. Actor and producer Alec Baldwin fired the gun while filming on Thursday, apparently not knowing that the gun had been loaded with live rounds.
Mendoza confirmed that two other people handled the gun besides Baldwin on Thursday – production armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed and first assistant director Dave Halls. Court records reportedly state that Halls inspected the gun shortly after it was discharged, and saw four “dummy casings” inside. Mendoza also said that there were two other firearms recovered from the set, but one was modified so as to be inoperable and the other was made of plastic.
Mendoza addressed rumors that the Rust crew had engaged in recreational shooting on the premises when off-duty, saying that his team would be investigating. He said: “I would encourage anybody that has any information that any target practicing or any firearm was discharged away from the movie set for practice or for whatever reason, to contact the sheriff.”
Rust is a western period piece set in the 1880s, and actually takes place in Kansas. Baldwin is supposed to play an outlaw in the film, though it is not clear if or when filming may resume. The investigation into the tragedy on set is ongoing.