Search warrant: “Rust” assistant director acknowledges failure to fully check Baldwin’s gun
From CNN’s Cheri Mossburg
The assistant director on “Rust” who handed Alec Baldwin the gun that fired the fatal shot acknowledged to investigators that he did not check all the rounds loaded in the weapon prior to the lethal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, a detective wrote in a search warrant affidavit made public Wednesday.
Detective Alexandria Hancock described her interviews with first assistant director David Halls and armorer Hannah Reed-Gutierrez.
“David advised when Hannah showed him the firearm before continuing rehearsal, he could only remember seeing three rounds. He advised he should have checked all of them but didn’t, and couldn’t recall if she spun the drum,” the affidavit said.
An earlier affidavit stated Halls shouted “cold gun” (meaning the gun did not have a blank or a live round that contained gunpowder that could explode), before handing it to Baldwin.
Investigators added the request to search the van after interviewing several members of the movie crew, including Reed-Gutierrez, who told investigators the weapons used in filming were stored in a safe inside the van or “prop truck” to which only a few people had access and the combination.
Santa Fe Sheriff Adan Mendoza said Wednesday a suspected live round killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza. Yet in the warrant, Hancock says Reed-Gutierrez told investigators, “No live ammo is ever kept on set.”
“David advised the incident was not a deliberate act,” the detective wrote of the interview with Halls.
More context: According to the affidavit, a van used to store weapons and props on the Santa Fe set of “Rust” was searched for evidence prompted by interviews from the film crew. The van was searched for firearms, ammunition, a gun safe, fingerprints, bodily fluids, and residue, the detective said.
“Hannah advised on the day of the incident, she checked the ‘dummies’ and ensured they were no ‘hot’ rounds,” the warrant states about the ammo used on set. While the firearms were secured inside the van, “ammo was left on a cart on the set, not secured,” Reed-Gutierrez told investigators.
The grey, two-tier cart also contained a western-style belt and other prop-ammunition.
Reed-Gutierrez told investigators she handed the gun to Baldwin a couple of times during the day’s filming, and also handed it to Halls.
Reid Russell, a cameraman standing next to Hutchins and Souza, also told deputies everyone seemed to be getting along, despite an earlier walkout of some crew members the previous day. He told deputies he had stepped out of the immediate area for about five minutes and was not sure whether the weapon was checked during his absence.
Souza, who sustained a gunshot wound to his shoulder in the incident, told law enforcement, “as far as he knows, no one gets checked for live ammunition on their person prior and after the scenes are being filmed.”
Halls and Reed-Gutierrez have not responded to CNN’s requests for comment.
“Rust” armorer “mishandled” guns on previous film with Nicolas Cage, crew members say
From CNN’s Chloe Melas
Two crew members tell CNN that Hannah Reed-Gutierrez, 24, who was the lead armorer on the set of “Rust,” mishandled weapons on a previous film project.
Stu Brumbaugh, the key grip on “The Old Way,” told CNN that Reed-Gutierrez handled guns on the set of that project in a reckless manner and that he urged the film’s assistant director to fire her.
“There’s a universal way to handle weapons on set and immediately red flags went up when I worked with Hannah,” Brumbaugh said. “This is why I asked for her dismissal.”
“This is why people get injured because of rookie mistakes,” he said.
CNN has reached out to the film’s production company and the assistant director on the film for comment. CNN has also reached out to Reed-Gutierrez.
Brumbaugh cited an incident in which Reed-Gutierez fired a gun near the film’s star Nicolas Cage without warning.
“Make an announcement! You just blew my f***ing eardrums out!” Cage screamed in response and then walked off set angrily, according to Brumbaugh.
“She was talking to the stunt coordinator, and she just fired off a round, it sounded [like she fired] at the ground, and that’s when Nick really laid into her. That’s when I said she needs to be let go, she’s the most inexperienced armorer I had ever worked with. I have no idea why she wasn’t let go.”
CNN has reached out to Cage for comment.
Brumbaugh’s allegations were first reported by The Wrap.
Reed-Gutierrez is the daughter of longtime Hollywood armorer, Thell Reed. “Rust” was her second film as an armorer. She said on an episode of The Voices of the West podcast in September that she was “nervous” to work on “The Old Way.”
“I almost didn’t take the job because I wasn’t sure if I was ready, but doing it, like it went really smoothly,” she said during the podcast.
A source who worked on “The Old Way” and requested their name not be included for fear of professional reprisal told CNN they also had concerns about Reed-Gutierrez’s work on the project.
“She walked out onto the set with live rounds with no announcement whatsoever to the cast and crew by her,” the source said. “She never announced to anyone that she was walking on the set carrying firearms loaded with blanks with her.”
“She didn’t carry the firearms safely. She had pistols tucked under her armpits and was carrying rifles in each hand that were ready to be used in the scene,” this individual added. “Firearms were aimed at people. She turned around and the pistols that were tucked under her armpits were pointing back at people.”
On Wednesday, the Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said investigators believe the gun fired by “Rust” producer and star Alec Baldwin contained a “suspected live round.”
Mendoza said Reed-Gutierrez, Baldwin and others on the “Rust” set at the time of the shooting are cooperating with the investigation.
Sheriff’s department says Alec Baldwin has been interviewed multiple times
From CNN’s Leslie Perrot
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department has interviewed actor Alec Baldwin multiple times, according to Juan Rios, the department’s public information officer.
Speaking to reporters off camera after the sheriff’s news conference on Wednesday, Rios said that the assistant director, David Halls, and armorer, Hannah Reed-Gutierrez, have been interviewed at least once but he was unsure if it was more than that.
Rios also said that the department considers this a “shooting investigation” not a “homicide investigation.”
Santa Fe County Sheriff considers the projectile that killed Hutchins a “suspected live round”
From CNN’s Kay Jones
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said they consider the projectile that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins a “suspected live round.”
Hutchins was killed last week as actor Alec Baldwin was practicing drawing a prop gun during rehearsals on the set of “Rust.”
During a news conference Wednesday, Mendoza said officials suspect there were other live rounds on set but wouldn’t comment on how they got there.
Mendoza also clarified that the 500 rounds of ammunition found on the set were a mix of blanks, dummy rounds, and suspected live rounds.
He said that of the three guns seized from the set, one was altered and not functioning and the other was plastic.
“The facts are clear: a weapon was handed to Mr. Baldwin. The weapon is functional and fired a live round killing Ms. Hutchins,” Mendoza said.
He said a dead projectile recovered by Souza’s shoulder and the FBI crime lab will determine make of bullet and if it was fired from actual firearm. He said the testing still needs to be done.
He said the projectile was “apparently” the same round that killed Hutchins but will leave that determination to the medical examiner.
Mendoza said that Alec Baldwin has been cooperative in the investigation. He said several individuals still need to be interviewed. He is not putting a timeline on to when it will be completed.
District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies also said during the news conference that prosecution will be initiated if facts and documents support charges. She said all options are on the table at this point and asks that the sheriff’s office be allowed to continue with the investigation.
“Rust” producers hire firm to investigate fatal shooting
From CNN’s Chloe Melas and Joe Sutton
A spokesperson for the law firm Jenner & Block confirmed to CNN it is investigating the fatal shooting on the set of “Rust” on behalf of the film’s producers.
Previously, Deadline.com reported that a law firm had been hired by “Rust” producers to investigate the shooting that killed the film’s director of photography Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.
“In addition to cooperating with authorities, we hired a legal team from Jenner & Block to conduct an investigation of the events,” according to a communication sent Tuesday evening from the “Rust” production to cast and crew members, Deadline reported. “We have stressed that they will have full discretion about who to interview and any conclusions they draw.”
Sheriff says “we suspect there were other live rounds” on the movie set
From CNN’s Adrienne Vogt
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said that “we suspect there were other live rounds that were found on set” of the “Rust” movie, where a shooting incident resulted in the death of director of photography Halyna Hutchins last week.
“I won’t comment further on how they got there. This investigation is active, so I won’t comment on how they got there, but we suspect that they are there. That will be determined when testing is done by the crime lab in reference to whether or not they are officially live rounds or not,” Mendoza said during a press conference.
The sheriff said authorities are conducting further investigations to determine how crew members obtained a gun with a live round in it.
“The people that inspected or handled the firearm when it was loaded before it got to Mr. Baldwin — we’re interviewing. And there [are] some followup questions that we need to do,” he said.
Later in the press conference, Mendoza said:
“We know there was one live round, as far as we’re concerned, on set. We’re going to determine whether we suspect that there were other live rounds, but that’s up to the testing. But right now, we’re going to determine how those got there, why they were there, because they shouldn’t have been there.”
Authorities conducting “thorough and objective” investigation into shooting on the set of “Rust”
From CNN’s Kay Jones
Authorities in New Mexico are conducting a “thorough and objective” investigation into what happened on the “Rust” set last week, but no charges have been filed yet in the death of Halyna Hutchins.
During a press conference Wednesday morning in Santa Fe, Adan Mendoza, Santa Fe County Sheriff, confirmed that Alec Baldwin fired the weapon. Baldwin, armorer Hannah Reed-Gutierrez and assistant director David Halls have been cooperative with investigators, according to Mendoza.
About 500 rounds of ammunition have been seized from the set, Mendoza said. He said they believe the spent shell casing from the bullet that was fired from the gun and a projectile was recovered from the shoulder of Joel Souza, the movie’s director who was also injured in the shooting.
The evidence will be submitted to the FBI for further processing, he said.
Mendoza said it’s too early to comment on possible charges.
District attorney says she will “initiate prosecution” if facts, evidence and law support charges
Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies stressed that the investigation into the “Rust” shooting is still ongoing but said she is ready to “initiate prosecution” if needed.
“I must emphasize that a complete and thorough investigation is critical to the DA review. We take the corroborated facts and evidence and connect it to New Mexico law, and we are not at that juncture yet,” she said, noting earlier that her office will “make sure this investigation will be held to the highest standards.”
“If the facts in evidence and law support charges, then I will initiate prosecution at that time. I’m a prosecutor that was elected in part because I do not make rash decisions and I do not rush to judgment,” she said.
“I rely on facts supported by evidence, cooperative and credible witnesses, and I cannot stress the importance of allowing the Santa fe county sheriff’s office to continue with their quality investigation that is both serious and complex,” she added.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said earlier that its “too early” to comment on charges, but that the three people who handled the gun that was shot by actor Alec Baldwin are cooperating with the investigation.
Sheriff: “It’s too early right now” to comment on charges in “Rust” movie shooting
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said it’s “too early” to comment on charges following the fatal shooting on the “Rust” set, but added arrests will be made if the investigation shows a crime occurred.
“It’s too early right now in the investigation to comment on changes at this point,” he said at a news conference.
“The investigation will continue, and if the sheriff’s office determines during our investigation a crime has occurred and probable cause exists, an arrest or arrests will be made and charges will be filed.”
The director of photography of “Rust,” Halyna Hutchins, was killed last week as actor Alec Baldwin was practicing drawing a prop gun during rehearsals.
Baldwin has said he’s cooperating with authorities.