New Mexico sheriff on Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ shooting: 'This is a criminal investigation'

New Mexico sheriff provides updates on Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ shooting: ‘This is a criminal investigation’

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza discusses the possibility of charges being brought against suspects in the shooting incident that killed director of photography Halyna Hutchins

A New Mexico sheriff said Thursday that the ‘Rust’ movie set shooting involving Alec Baldwin was being treated as a criminal investigation and he would not rule out charges or suspects in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

“I’d be careful using the word ‘accident,’” said Sante Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.” 

“This is obviously a tragedy and it was avoidable, so right now it’s a criminal investigation.”

Mendoza added that it was too early in the investigation to determine if charges would be filed, but said that the department was working closely with District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.

District attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies speaks at a news conference on October 27. 
(REUTERS/Adria Malcolm)

“I will confirm that we haven’t ruled anybody out in regards to charges in this case. It’s still an active investigation and we’re still gathering statements and facts,” said Mendoza.  

The Santa Fe County sheriff said that all suspects had given an initial statement and confirmed that some of the primary people of focus had retained counsel. He elaborated that these “focused individuals” included Armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, Assistant Director David Halls, and Baldwin himself. 

During an interview with detectives, Halls noted that he typically checks the barrel of the gun for obstructions while armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed opens the hatch and spins the drum to advise him whether or not it is a “cold gun,” an industry term used to announce whether a gun has live ammunition or not.

An aerial view of the film set on Bonanza Creek Ranch where Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

He said in an affidavit that when Reed showed him the gun before continuing rehearsal that day, 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.

Mendoza said Wednesday during a press conference that the bullet that killed Hutchins was recovered by medical personnel in director Joel Souza’s shoulder. It and more evidence including several rounds of ammunition will be sent to the FBI crime lab in Quantico, Virginia for analysis.

Fox News’ Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.

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