Alec Baldwin could end up facing criminal charges for fatally shooting a woman during the filming of the Western movie Rust, the district attorney in the case hinted.
According to Fox News, Santa Fe DA Mary Carmack-Altwies says that nothing is being “ruled out” as authorities probe the tragic killing of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Not a prop gun
The DA said that Baldwin was not handling a “prop-gun,” despite the description seen in many reports, and that “everything at this point, including criminal charges, is on the table.”
“It was a legit gun,” she said. “It was an antique, era-appropriate gun.”
While rehearsing a scene Thursday, Baldwin’s gun somehow discharged a live round as he was aiming at the camera. Hutchins was struck in the chest, fatally, and the movie’s director, Joel Souza, was injured.
While the investigation is in its early stages, authorities say they have uncovered signs of “complacency” on the set, where live bullets have been found with blanks among 500 rounds of ammunition.
“We suspect there were other live rounds found on set,” Sheriff Adan Mendoza said. “We’re going to determine how those got there, why they were there, because they shouldn’t have been there.”
Decision “weeks” out
Baldwin was handed the gun by the assistant director, who said it was “cold,” meaning unloaded, and the role of the movie’s armorer, who left the gun on a cart because of COVID-19 restrictions, has been questioned as well, according to the New York Post.
Even if Baldwin doesn’t face criminal charges, some say the actor, who is also the movie’s producer, could be held civilly liable.
Prior to the shooting, as KSBY noted, there were complaints about safety from some of the crew, and reports have emerged suggesting that Baldwin’s gun had been used for target practice the morning of the shooting, as the Post reported.
For now, authorities are conducting a ballistics investigation to find out what kind of bullet killed Hutchins, and how it got inside Baldwin’s gun. As the public continues to speculate, Carmack-Altwies said it could be “weeks” before any charging decisions are made in the “complex” and unusual case.
“It’s probably weeks, if not months, of follow-up investigation that we’re going to need to get to the point of charging,” she said.