On Monday, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office revealed the full scope of their investigation into the Rust shooting. The tragic accident in October 2021 left director Joel Souza injured and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
After months of investigation, Sheriff Adan Mendoza released a statement saying:
“Today 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.”
Amongst the hours of video included in the files, there is footage of star Alec Baldwin drawing the F.lli Pietta 45 Long Colt Revolver (the same gun that later misfired) and pointing it at the camera. Later body cam footage from first responders shows the actor explaining his perspective to the cops, insisting he did not pull the trigger nor did he know that there were live rounds in the gun. He told them:
“I take the gun out and as the barrel clears, I turn and cock the gun and the gun goes off.”
In some of the other video, Alec stated that he was “not alright,” adding that he was “worried” about Halyna and asking after her condition.
Some footage depicts first responders treating Hutchins and Souza on the set before they were transferred to the hospital. There is video of the director in the hospital begging “to know if Hutchins is still alive,” per People. In his interview from the emergency room, he explained that armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed handed off the gun and that he believed she said the weapon was “cold” or “clean.” He said:
“There was a bang — there was a louder bang than I’ve heard come from a blank before.”
In Sheriff’s Det. Joel Cano’s summary of his interview with Souza the day after the shooting, the director recalled the armorer standing over him after he was injured and “hysterically yelling ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry I’m sorry.’” Gutierrez-Reed, a controversial figure in the investigation, is also seen in the footage in the moments after the shooting. Minutes after the incident, she told police she was the film’s armorer, “Or at least I was.” She told another officer:
“Welcome to the worst day of my life.”
She is later heard saying:
“I can’t believe Alec Baldwin was holding the gun. That’s so f**ked.”
In further video, she requested to be taken somewhere away from her coworkers, adding:
“I just want to get the f**k out of here and never show my face in this industry again.”
She’s also heard calling herself a “f*****g failure” and told the officer:
“I’m the only female armorer in the game and I just f**ked up my whole entire career.”
Interviews with the young armorer were included in the files released; in one, Gutierrez-Reed called the Rust set “toxic.” She admitted she “wasn’t aware that the hammer in the gun was supposed to be pulled back in the scene and that she wished she checked it more,” per The Los Angeles Times.
Texts and emails from Gutierrez-Reed showed that she disregarded advice from her ammunition supplier to avoid “live ammo” on the Nic Cage film The Old Way. In the midst of the Rust investigation, she wrote a message saying police “don’t seem to believe me and the evidence they have seems tampered with.”
Correspondence from other crew members, including propmaster Sarah Zachry, cast blame in the armorer’s direction, going so far as to say Gutierrez-Reed was the one who “killed Halyna.” However, in one text message, Zachry claimed that Gutierrez-Reed wanted to use fake weapons on set, while Baldwin preferred the real thing. She wrote:
“Alec never liked anything fake like guns and even the rubber knife. He always wanted the real knife, but eventually I gave him the rubber without him knowing. He always wanted his real gun.”
In a text exchange with the actor days after the shooting, Zachry told Alec that she was “praying” for him, to which he responded in thanks, later adding:
“this sheriff’s dept still will not tell me that I won’t be charged w something.”
Data from the Emmy winner’s phone, as well as some other materials from the investigation, were not included in Monday’s release. In Sheriff Mendoza’s statement, he assured:
“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.”
We will continue to follow the case as it develops.
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