UPDATED 10/29 @ 6:25 a.m. PCT: As the investigation into the accidental fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on a New Mexico movie set by actor/producer Alec Baldwin continues, Fox News is reporting the focus is now on “the presence of live ammunition on the set.”
Bringing live cartridges onto a movie set, especially where guns are involved, is a major violation of safety protocols. Who brought the live ammunition to the “Rust” movie set outside of Santa Fe is a question the sheriff’s department is trying to determine. Investigators reportedly seized some 500 cartridges from the movie set, consisting of blanks, dummy cartridges and what “appeared” to be live ammunition, according to published reports. So far there has been no indication as to the origin of the apparent live cartridges or how they got into the single-action Pietta revolver.
UPDATE: Armorer Hanna Gutierrez-Reed released a statement through her attorneys in response to “certain rumors” related to the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the Alec Baldwin film “Rust” near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
According to Fox News, lawyers Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence insisted, “Safety is Hannah’s number one priority on set…Ultimately this set would never have been compromised if live ammo were not introduced. Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from.”
Investigators reportedly found 500 rounds of ammunition, Fox reported. The discovery included a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and “what appeared to be live rounds.”
Baldwin, who not only stars in the picture but is also its producer, fired a shot from what has been described as a Pietta revolver in .45 Colt caliber. The bullet apparently passed through Hutchins, fatally wounding her, and hitting director Joel Souza in the shoulder. That bullet, according to Sheriff Adan Mendoza.
While the investigation continues, at least two publications have taken to painting a soft portrait of Baldwin as the grieving family man now spending time with his family in New England.
For example, People Magazine is reporting the film star “has been spotted lying low with his family in a quiet New England town — after the cops investigating the actor’s deadly on-set shooting said they were ‘not exactly sure’ where he is.” After all, Baldwin hasn’t been charged with a crime, so he is free to move about. He is reportedly cooperating with the investigation.
The New York Post, often noted for its occasionally brutal treatment of celebrities, reported Thursday Baldwin “is finding comfort in his family after the tragic incident.”
And TMZ said Baldwin “is surrounding himself with family in an off-the-beaten-path location in the wake of the fatal accident on his “Rust” movie set — but his face shows the tragedy’s still weighing on him.”
Meanwhile, appearing on the “Today” show, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza brought the situation into perspective, explaining, “I think during the interviews, the focus of the investigation is how the live rounds got there, who brought them there and why they were there. As far as if it’s going to rise to the point of negligence or the point of criminal charges, we’re hoping to work with the district attorney in reference to that so it’s a clear determination if charges should be filed.”
Mendoza acknowledged so-far unsubstantiated reports that “there was a live-fire and target practice on the set.”
We’re going to track down that information and try and confirm whether that’s a fact or not.”
The sheriff continues to encourage anyone with information to confirm or refute that report to contact his office. The rumor was first reported by the Wrap.
The armorer on set is Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who reportedly said there was no live ammunition on the movie set. The sheriff is now saying that statement was “inaccurate,” according to Fox News.
“Rust” is a western featuring Baldwin as a grandfather who is trying to save his grandson from a hanging.