‘Rust’ shooting investigator says ‘degree of negligence’ found on set, criminal charges will be up to DA
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office is attempting to be “transparent” when it comes to the investigation into the fatal “Rust” set shooting that occurred on Oct. 21.
The department released all bodycam footage, crime scene photos, witness interviews and text messages obtained so far throughout the investigation on Monday. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died on the set of “Rust” after a gun Alec Baldwin was holding discharged.
Despite the public release of evidence, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza emphasized during an appearance on the “Today” show Tuesday morning that the investigation into the shooting isn’t complete.
“We’re still waiting on the forensics from the FBI crime lab, along with the final report from the office of the medical investigator, and there’s a few things that we need to sure up with the investigation.”
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“It’s hard to determine right now the route that the case is going to go,” Mendoza said. “I’ve said this before, I think there was complacency on the set. There was disorganization and a degree of negligence – whether that rises to a criminal level, that’ll be up to the district attorney.”
The sheriff said Alec Baldwin’s level of responsibility in the shooting would also be determined by the district attorney.
The sheriff’s department has yet to figure out how live ammunition made its way onto the movie set and nobody from the cast or crew of “Rust” has come forward with any information.
However, text messages – released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department – exchanged between armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed and supplier Seth Kenney did discuss live ammo.
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“There was text messages with information that was concerning based on the fact that live ammo was spoke about and was possibly used on a prior movie set. But that was just a few months before the ‘Rust’ movie set production began and so that is concerning,” Mendoza explained.
Mendoza noted that the release of the footage and documents was part of a public records request, but explained that it was also an attempt to be “transparent.”
“Well, I think the main point is that it was a public records request that we are required to release the information, but it was also an attempt to be transparent in the investigation,” Mendoza said.
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Alec Baldwin has said he did not pull the trigger of the gun he was holding when cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot on the set of "Rust."
(Jeff Neira/ABC via Getty Images)
Mendoza claimed it took the department “some time” to get the “tremendous amount of information” ready to be released.
“We tried to release it as soon as we had everything together, and we had an avenue to release the information.”