Alec Baldwin On-Set Shooting: Officials Say It’s Too Early to Press Charges

Officials say it's still too early to press charges in the accidental shooting that occurred on the set of Rust. Production on the Alec Baldwin-led Western was progressing smoothly until last week when an accidental shooting resulted in the death of the film's cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and injured director Joel Souza. Since the highly-publicized tragedy occurred on October 21, more details have been coming out as authorities investigate the incident.

The Rust crew had just returned from break and was rehearsing a scene in a rustic church on the film's set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico. The film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, laid out three guns prior to the scene, one of which was picked up by assistant director Dave Halls and handed to Baldwin. While rehearsing the scene which required him to point the gun at the camera, the weapon accidentally discharged, killing the film's cinematographer and wounding the director. As the investigation is still ongoing, many questions remain regarding how such an incident could occur on a modern film set.

Related: Every Real Life Figure Alec Baldwin Has Played In Movies & TV

Now, as the investigation is still in its nascent stages, officials say it's still too early to make a decision regarding whether charges will be filed in relation to the incident. During a news conference covered by the BBC, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said they are in the midst of conducting forensic testing and interviews. Mendoza also stated the obvious facts of the case and said there are still questions about the presence of live ammo on set. "Right now we’re gonna determine how those got there, why they were there - because they shouldn't have been there."

Since the tragic shooting occurred, there has been a lot of confusion regarding whether the gun was loaded with live rounds or blanks, how a gun loaded with blanks could still fire a fatal shot, and all the technical jargon being thrown around such as prop guns and so on. In the context of a movie set, the term live rounds can actually refer to blanks or real ammunition, which only adds to the confusion of trying to determine what happened on the set of Rust.

During he press conference, the sheriff said the weapon "fired a live round," though that doesn't seem to answer the key question. Considering the close range in which they were rehearsing, even a gun loaded with blanks could have killed Hutchins and injured Souza. Although, the investigation into the type of ammunition used on the Rust film set is still ongoing. Once it's complete, a decision can be made regarding if there was any criminal negligence involved.

Next: Why Prop Guns Can Be Lethal: The Real Danger On Film Sets

Source: BBC

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