Criminal charges against Alec Baldwin not ruled out: Prosecutor

Criminal charges against Alec Baldwin not ruled out: Prosecutor

SANTA FE-Agence France-Presse
Criminal charges against Alec Baldwin not ruled out: Prosecutor

Prosecutors refused on Oct. 27 to rule out criminal charges against Alec Baldwin for a deadly shooting, as police pointed to "complacency" on the U.S. movie set.

Baldwin killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins when his gun went off as they were rehearsing a scene in the 19th-century western "Rust".

Director Joel Souza was also hurt.

"All options are on the table," Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies told a press conference when asked about the possibility Baldwin could be charged.

"No one has been ruled out at this point."

An investigation into last Thursday’s fatal shooting has recovered 500 rounds of ammunition from the set in New Mexico, Sheriff Adan Mendoza told reporters, adding that detectives believe they were a mix of blanks, dummies and live rounds.

Entertainment trade website The Wrap reported this week that crew members had been using prop weapons just hours before Hutchins was killed, shooting live rounds at tin cans for target practice.

"We’re going to determine how those (live rounds) got there, why they were there, because they shouldn’t have been there," Mendoza said.

"I think there was some complacency on this set," he added.

Mendoza said the film’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and its assistant director Dave Halls had been interviewed.

Halls handed Baldwin the weapon that killed Hutchins, using the phrase "cold gun" - industry lingo for an inert firearm.

As the armorer, Gutierrez-Reed, 24, would have been responsible for supplying and keeping weapons safe on set, ensuring that they are accounted for at all times, and locked away when not in use.

She told detectives that on the day of the incident guns were secured while the crew ate lunch, but that ammunition was not, according to an affidavit submitted to a court on Oct. 27.

Halls said when Gutierrez-Reed showed him the gun as it was brought on set for rehearsal, he remembers seeing three "dummy" rounds.

"He advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t recall if she spun the drum" to show him the chamber, the affidavit says.

Mendoza told reporters more questions were being asked of the people who "inspected or handled the firearm ... before it got to Mr. Baldwin."

"We’re going to try to determine exactly how that happened and if they should have known that there was a live round in that firearm."

It emerged this week that Halls had been sacked from a previous production because of gun safety violations.

Carmack-Altwies said context such as this might affect any eventual decision to press charges in the "Rust" shooting.

"It obviously could play into whether charges get filed or not," she said.