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Authorities set to give update on Alec Baldwin shooting case


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Actor Alec Baldwin leaves court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

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By Lisa Richwine

SANTA FE, N.M. (Reuters) – Six days after actor Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed a crew member on a movie set in New Mexico, local authorities will speak publicly on Wednesday about their search for answers into how a gun used as a prop turned out to be deadly.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies will take questions from the media about the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a rehearsal for the movie “Rust.”

A central mystery remains what kind of projectile was fired from the gun that Baldwin was holding as he rehearsed for a scene inside a church, and how it got there. Investigators hope a forensic analysis of ballistic evidence will shed light on those questions but they have said not to expect answers anytime soon.

“We need to be diligent about the investigation so, should there be charges ultimately filed, they are able to uphold those in court,” said Juan Rios, spokesman for the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department.

Interviews are ongoing and detectives may need to talk to as many as 50 people, Rios said.

Detectives are looking at what took place on the set on the days before the shooting as well as the incident itself, Rios said.

“The sheriff’s office is looking at this case in a much greater scope, as opposed to just the shooting that occurred on set and the loss of life,” he said.

The shooting https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/alec-baldwin-fires-gun-movie-set-killing-cinematographer-authorities-say-2021-10-22 sent shockwaves through Hollywood, prompting debate about safety protocols in film and television – including whether certain types of guns https://www.reuters.com/world/us/prop-guns-spark-debate-after-cinematographers-death-set-2021-10-22 used as props should be banned – and working conditions on low-budget productions.

Authorities have said in court filings that Baldwin last Thursday was handed what he thought was a “cold,” or safe, gun by the film’s assistant director David Halls, who took it from a cart used by Hannah Gutierrez, who was employed to oversee firearms and their safety in a job called an armorer https://www.reuters.com/world/us/armorer-assistant-director-focus-movie-set-shooting-probe-2021-10-24.

The gun instead contained what police called “live rounds,” https://www.reuters.com/world/us/alec-baldwin-fired-prop-gun-that-killed-crew-member-movie-set-authorities-2021-10-22 and a shot hit Hutchins in the chest and director Joel Souza, standing behind her, in the shoulder. Souza was treated at a hospital and released. Hutchins was transported by helicopter to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

No one has been charged.

The film’s producers have hired the law firm Jenner & Block to investigate the shooting. In a letter sent to cast and crew on Tuesday night and obtained by Reuters, the film’s production team said Jenner “will have full discretion about who to interview and any conclusions they draw.”

Baldwin, 63, serves as a co-producer of “Rust,” a Western film set in 1880s Kansas, and plays an outlaw grandfather of a 13-year-old boy convicted of an accidental killing. Production had been taking place at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, located south of Santa Fe, and has been halted.

Baldwin has called it a “tragic accident” and, like other cast and crew, is cooperating with police.

Baldwin was drawing a revolver https://www.reuters.com/world/us/alec-baldwin-seen-consoling-family-slain-cinematographer-set-problems-mount-2021-10-24 across his body and pointing it at a camera while rehearsing when the weapon fired, according to a sheriff’s department affidavit released on Sunday.

Detectives recovered two boxes of “ammo,” “loose ammo and boxes” as well as “a fanny pack w/ammo,” along with several spent casings, according to a court filing. Police have not said whether the ammunition was live or dummy bullets or the blank cartridges often used on movie and TV sets.

Before the incident, camera operators had walked off the set to protest working conditions, according to the affidavit.





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