Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said that he does not believe a statement from the armorer in the “Rust” movie investigation was accurate regarding the presence of live rounds on the set.
Alec Baldwin was practicing cross-drawing a long-barreled Colt .45 revolver on a church set made for the indie-western film when the gun went off. Authorities confirmed that a live round struck cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in the stomach and was eventually recovered inside director Joel Souza’s right shoulder.
Very few people handled that gun prior to the incident, but one was armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed. In a search warrant executed by the Sheriff’s office and obtained by Fox News, Gutierrez Reed noted that there should have been no live ammunition on the set at all.
Speaking on the “Today” show Thursday, Sheriff Mendoza was asked if that statement is accurate given the evidence that has been collected in the case thus far.
“No, obviously it isn’t,” he said. “That was a live round that struck and killed Mrs. Hutchisn, so that is not an accurate statement as far as I’m concerned.”
Mendoza said during a press conference Wednesday that, in addition to the bullet taken from Souza’s shoulder, investigators found 500 rounds of ammunition, including a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what appeared to be live rounds.
The armorer said in the affidavit that she checked the weapon that Baldwin eventually fired prior to the crew breaking for lunch to ensure it was only filled with dummy rounds. When the crew broke for lunch, she personally locked the gun and others in a safe in a nearby prop truck. However, at that time she claims ammo was left out on a cart on the set and not secure. Ammo was also inside the prop truck at the time.
After lunch, crew member Sarah Zachary pulled the firearms out of the safe inside the truck and handed them to her. She advised there are only a few people that have access and the combination to the safe. During the course of filming, Hannah says she handed the gun to Baldwin a few times and also handed it to Halls.
Elsewhere in the interview with “Today,” Mendoza noted that the current focus of the investigation is on the people who handled the gun prior to Hutchins’ death. In addition, he says detectives are taking a very close look at how live ammunition made its way to set at all as well as who was responsible for bringing it.