The “Rust” shooting details are slowly being revealed.
On Monday, April 25, the Santa Fe County Sheriff released “all files associated with our ongoing investigation.” On October 21, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was injured after a gun that actor Alec Baldwin was holding discharged. The “30 Rock” actor said the gun must have misfired when he pointed it at the camera during rehearsals at the Bonanza Creek Ranch outside Santa Fe.
Santa Fe Sheriff Releases ‘Rust’ Shooting Details
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza noted that the investigation is still “open and ongoing,” as per Deadline. However, he noted that “the sheriff’s office is releasing all files associated with our ongoing investigation.”
“The files are all related to the Rust movie set investigation and include lapel/dash camera footage from deputies and detectives, incident reports, crime scene photos, examination reports, witness interviews, set video, and staff photos collected throughout the course of this investigation,” Sheriff Mendoza explained.
According to the Santa Fe sheriff, “various components of the investigation remain outstanding including, FBI firearm and ballistic forensics along with DNA and latent fingerprint analysis, Office of the New Mexico Medical Examiner findings report and the analysis of Mr. Alec Baldwin’s phone data extracted by Suffolk County Sheriff’s investigators.”
“Once these investigative components are provided to the sheriff’s office we will be able to complete the investigation to forward it to the Santa Fe District Attorney for review,” he added.
Late last week, the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau issued a “willful-serious citation” against the production company with a $136,793 civil penalty, which is “the highest level of citation and maximum fine allowable by state law in New Mexico,” according to the Bureau, which went on to say, “Rust Movie Productions, LLC was cited for the plain indifference to the recognized hazards associated with the use of firearms on set that resulted in a fatality, severe injury, and unsafe working conditions.”
Alec Baldwin’s Attorney Claims That He Has Been Exonerated From ‘Rust’ Investigation
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Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, released a statement that Baldwin shared through his Instagram page.
“We are grateful to the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau for investigating this matter,” Luke Nikas wrote began. “We appreciate that the report exonerates Mr. Baldwin by making clear that he believed the gun held only dummy rounds and that his authority on the production was limited to approving script changes and creative casting.”
“Mr. Baldwin had no authority over the matters that were the subject of the Bureau’s findings of violations, and we are pleased that the New Mexico authorities have clarified these critical issues,” he continued. “We are confident that the individuals identified in the report will be held accountable for this tragedy.”
The report had concluded that Rust Movie Productions LLC’s management “knew that firearm safety procedures were not being followed on set and demonstrated plain indifference to employee safety by failing to review work practices and take corrective action.”
On Wednesday, Environmental Cabinet Secretary James Kenney said that “there were serious management failures and more than sufficient evidence to suggest that if standard industry practices were followed, the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutching and the serious injury to Joel Souza would not have occurred. … This is a complete failure of the employer to follow recognized national protocols that keep employees safe.”
Hutchins’ Family & ‘Rust’ Armorer Respond To Gun Safety Citation In OSHA Report
The attorney for the Hutchins’ family, Brian Panish, told TMZ, “We are pleased that the NM OSHA report has shed some light on the workplace safety issues that plagued Rust and led to the tragic and fatal events of Oct 21, 2021. Our own investigation has found overwhelming evidence of recklessness and negligence on the part of the Rust production team and others.”
“Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed issued a statement through her lawyer, Jason Bowles, which was also conveyed to TMZ. Bowles said, “OSHA found that she was not provided adequate time or resources to conduct her job effectively, despite her voiced concerns.”
Bowles continued, “Critically, OSHA also determined that production failed to call Hannah in to perform her armorer duties and inspect the firearm right before its use in the impromptu scene with Baldwin. As we have stated before, had anyone from Production called Hannah back into the church before the scene to consult with her, this tragedy would have been prevented.”
“Hannah has also reached out to OSHA recently in an effort to provide her suggestions for changes and improvement of safety standards on sets to avoid a tragic incident in the future,” he added.
Reed has previously claimed that she was never asked to inspect the gun that actor Alec Baldwin was holding during the rehearsal scene in the church.