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Charges possible against Alec Baldwin for killing film crew member: ‘All options on the table’

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza speaks during a press conference on Oct. 27, 2021. (YouTube screenshot)
October 27, 2021

Authorities are actively investigating actor and film producer Alec Baldwin for fatally shooting a film crew member while handling a firearm on a film set last week. During a Wednesday press conference, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said while no criminal charges have been filed at this time, Baldwin’s involvement in the fatal shooting remains an active part of the investigation and charges have not been ruled out.

“In reference to possible, it’s too early right now in the investigation to comment on charges at this point,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said the investigation will continue and charges may be filed if his office determines there is probable cause exists to press any charges.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was wounded in the shooting incident, which took place on the set of the film “Rust” on October 21.

New Mexico’s First District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies also said, “If the facts and evidence and law supports charges, then I will initiate charges at that time.”

Carmack-Altwies later added, “All options are on the table on this point.”

In an interview with the New York Times, published Tuesday, Carmack-Altwies said, “It’s probably weeks, if not months, of follow-up investigation that we’re going to need to get to the point of charging.”

Mendoza said Baldwin “is obviously the person that fired the weapon” and, as such, is an “active part of this investigation.”

NBC News reported the involvement of two other crew members on the set — assistant director Dave Halls and 24-year-old armorer Hanna Gutierrez-Reed — has also come under scrutiny. Halls had reportedly called “cold gun,” indicating a safe weapon before handing it to Baldwin, before the shooting incident and Gutierrez-Reed was in charge of the weapons and the overall safety protocols for guns used on the film’s set.

“All three individuals have been cooperative in the investigation and have provided statements,” Mendoza said Wednesday.

Mendoza said his office has recovered 600 pieces of evidence, including the gun they believe Baldwin used to fire the fatal shot and “possible additional live rounds on set.” Among the pieces of evidence were 500 rounds, including what Mendoza said were a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and “what we are suspecting, live rounds.”

Mendoza said his office is providing the evidence it has collected to the FBI for further analysis. Mendoza’s office has also conducted multiple witness interviews in connection with the investigation.

During the press conference, Mendoza offered his opinion on what problems led to the fatal shooting.

“I think there was some complacency on this set, and I think there are some safety issues that need to be addressed by the industry and possibly by the state of New Mexico,” Mendoza said. “But I’ll leave that up to the industry and the state as to what those need to be.”

One reporter asked Mendoza about rumors some of the prop guns for the film were also used for target practice with live ammunition. Mendoza reiterated that suspected live rounds were discovered on the film set but said “we won’t comment on how [the rounds] got there.”

Another reporter asked about rumors of alcohol being involved and tensions on the set among cast and crew members. Mendoza said his office is aware of those rumors and is looking into them.