Gun given to Alec Baldwin not properly checked, according to police

The gun used on the set of Rust wasn’t properly checked before being given to Alec Baldwin, according to officials and a new court filing.

New details of the incident wherein Alec Baldwin fatally shot Halyna Hutchins have emerged in a news conference held by Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, and from an affidavit filed by the local sheriff’s department.

“We would consider it a live round – a bullet, live – because it did fire from the weapon and obviously caused the death of Ms Hutchins and injured Mr Souza,” Sheriff Mendoza said.

Image: The Boston Globe

The assistant director, Dave Halls, told investigators he had failed to check rounds of the gun, a .45 calibre Italian-made Pietta Long Colt revolver, before it was handed to Alec Baldwin. Halls said he “should have checked all” the rounds in the gun before handing it over but hadn’t done so, according to the affidavit.

Authorities have previously said Baldwin was handed what he thought was a “cold” gun by Halls, who took it from a cart used by Hannah Gutierrez.

“I think the facts are clear, the weapon was handed to Mr Baldwin. The weapon is functional and fired a live round, killing Ms Hutchins and injuring Mr Souza.” Sheriff Mendoza said.

Gutierrez, the film’s armourer who oversaw weapons on the set, said she had checked guns there but found no “hot rounds” (live ammunition) before the incident.

Gutierrez also said the ammunition wasn’t secured on set during a lunch break before the shooting, but firearms were secured inside a safe kept on a white truck during the break and no live ammunition was ever kept on a movie set.“Only a few people” had access to the safe and knew the combination to open it, Gutierrez allegedly said.

When asked if Baldwin could face criminal charges, Carmack-Altwies said it was still too soon to know.

“All options are on the table at this point. We cannot answer that question at this point,” she said. “It will take many more facts, corroborated facts, before we get to that criminal negligence standard.”

If investigations find a crime has occurred and probable cause existed, Sheriff Mendoza said “an arrest or arrests will be made and charges will be filed”.

Police also said they suspected other live rounds were on the set but haven’t found any in the 500 rounds of ammunition, including blanks and dummy rounds, collected during their investigations so far.