The latest on the "Rust" movie set shooting investigation

By Melissa Mahtani, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes

Updated 7:47 p.m. ET, October 27, 2021
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12:29 p.m. ET, October 27, 2021

Sheriff says "we suspect there were other live rounds" on the movie set

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza speaks during a press conference on Wednesday, October 27.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza speaks during a press conference on Wednesday, October 27. (CNN)

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said that "we suspect there were other live rounds that were found on set" of the "Rust" movie, where a shooting incident resulted in the death of director of photography Halyna Hutchins last week.

"I won't comment further on how they got there. This investigation is active, so I won't comment on how they got there, but we suspect that they are there. That will be determined when testing is done by the crime lab in reference to whether or not they are officially live rounds or not," Mendoza said during a press conference.

The sheriff said authorities are conducting further investigations to determine how crew members obtained a gun with a live round in it.

"The people that inspected or handled the firearm when it was loaded before it got to Mr. Baldwin — we're interviewing. And there [are] some followup questions that we need to do," he said.  

Later in the press conference, Mendoza said:

"We know there was one live round, as far as we're concerned, on set. We're going to determine whether we suspect that there were other live rounds, but that's up to the testing. But right now, we're going to determine how those got there, why they were there, because they shouldn't have been there."  

5:33 p.m. ET, October 27, 2021

Authorities conducting "thorough and objective" investigation into shooting on the set of "Rust" 

From CNN’s Kay Jones

Authorities in New Mexico are conducting a “thorough and objective” investigation into what happened on the “Rust” set last week, but no charges have been filed yet in the death of Halyna Hutchins.

During a press conference Wednesday morning in Santa Fe, Adan Mendoza, Santa Fe County Sheriff, confirmed that Alec Baldwin fired the weapon. Baldwin, armorer Hannah Gutierrez and assistant director David Halls have been cooperative with investigators, according to Mendoza.

About 500 rounds of ammunition have been seized from the set, Mendoza said. He said they believe the spent shell casing from the bullet that was fired from the gun and a projectile was recovered from the shoulder of Joel Souza, the movie’s director who was also injured in the shooting. 

The evidence will be submitted to the FBI for further processing, he said. 

Mendoza said it’s too early to comment on possible charges.

12:23 p.m. ET, October 27, 2021

District attorney says she will "initiate prosecution" if facts, evidence and law support charges 

Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies speaks during a press conference on Wednesday, October 27.
Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies speaks during a press conference on Wednesday, October 27. (CNN)

Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies stressed that the investigation into the "Rust" shooting is still ongoing but said she is ready to "initiate prosecution" if needed.

"I must emphasize that a complete and thorough investigation is critical to the DA review. We take the corroborated facts and evidence and connect it to New Mexico law, and we are not at that juncture yet," she said, noting earlier that her office will "make sure this investigation will be held to the highest standards."

"If the facts in evidence and law support charges, then I will initiate prosecution at that time. I'm a prosecutor that was elected in part because I do not make rash decisions and I do not rush to judgment," she said.

"I rely on facts supported by evidence, cooperative and credible witnesses, and I cannot stress the importance of allowing the Santa fe county sheriff's office to continue with their quality investigation that is both serious and complex," she added.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said earlier that its "too early" to comment on charges, but that the three people who handled the gun that was shot by actor Alec Baldwin are cooperating with the investigation.

12:09 p.m. ET, October 27, 2021

Sheriff: "It's too early right now" to comment on charges in "Rust" movie shooting

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said it's "too early" to comment on charges following the fatal shooting on the "Rust" set, but added arrests will be made if the investigation shows a crime occurred.

"It's too early right now in the investigation to comment on changes at this point," he said at a news conference.

He added:

"The investigation will continue, and if the sheriff's office determines during our investigation a crime has occurred and probable cause exists, an arrest or arrests will be made and charges will be filed."

The director of photography of "Rust," Halyna Hutchins, was killed last week as actor Alec Baldwin was practicing drawing a prop gun during rehearsals.

Baldwin has said he's cooperating with authorities.

12:10 p.m. ET, October 27, 2021

Police have 600 items of evidence in relation to "Rust" shooting

In the first briefing since the fatal shooting on the "Rust" movie set Thursday, Santa Fe County Sherriff Adan Mendoza said investigators have collected 600 items of evidence, including what officials believe is the gun fired by actor Alec Baldwin.

"Through the execution of search warrants, we have collected about 600 items of evidence. These include, but are not limited to, three firearms, approximately 500 rounds of ammunition and several pieces of clothing and accessories. We believe that we have in our possession the firearm that was fired by Mr. Baldwin.This is the firearm we believe discharged the bullet. We also believe that we have the spent shell casing from the bullet that was fired from the gun." 

"We have recovered what we believe to be possible, additional live rounds on set," Mendoza said, adding, "All the previous mentioned items, along with other items of evidence, will be submitted to the FBI crime lab in Quantico, Virginia, for analysis."

12:04 p.m. ET, October 27, 2021

NOW: Sheriff and district attorney provide update on "Rust" shooting investigation

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies are holding a joint news conference soon to discuss the ongoing investigation into the shooting incident on movie set “Rust.”

A district attorney spokesperson confirmed to CNN that Carmack-Altwies is not ruling out criminal charges in the fatal shooting, noting that the incident remains under active investigation. 

In an interview with the New York Times, Carmack-Altwies said the term “prop gun” is misleading and that the gun that killed Halyna Hutchins was a “legit gun,” describing it as an “antique-era appropriate gun.”

According to the report, Carmack-Altwies said the investigation is focusing on ballistics to determine what kind of rounds were used, and who placed them in the gun fired by actor Alec Baldwin.

What we know so far about the investigation: Investigators also found two other prop guns, a Western-style gun belt and some ammunition. In the affidavit, detectives sought a search warrant to seize more items as evidence, including firearms and ammunition, cameras, memory cards and computers.

The Bonanza Creek Ranch, which has been used for dozens of Western-themed movies and TV series, including "Lonesome Dove" and "Cowboys and Aliens," now sits deserted. The production team said it has halted filming on "Rust," at least until the investigation into the shooting is complete.

CNN's Josh Campbell and Faith Karimi contributed reporting to this post.

11:15 a.m. ET, October 27, 2021

Hollywood prop master says he declined working on "Rust" after producers asked too much of the role

From CNN’s Sarah Moon

Prop master Neal Zoromski speaks with CNN.
Prop master Neal Zoromski speaks with CNN. (CNN)

Neal Zoromski, a long time Hollywood prop master, declined an offer to work on “Rust” after being asked by producers to fulfill two roles on the movie set, an approach that he thought was “flawed.”

Zoromski said he was asked to take on two jobs, one as an armorer and another as an assistant key prop master.

“That premise is flawed,” Zoromski told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “It’s just an awful lot of landscape for even a seasoned professional to cover.”

Zoromski explained that, “if you are loading a gun, you’re right up next to the camera. If you’re an assistant key prop master, then you are in the background loading the wagons, checking the bridles, making sure the trunk is being loaded and offloaded and repeated over and over again.”

“There are so many things that go on in between the foreground and the background and to have to cover that amount of territory, and to do it well, is challenging for even a seasoned professional,” he added. 

Zoromski said he had misgivings about the job as he spoke to various people on the production team about numbers, budgeting, and staffing questions that needed to be addressed.

“We were in the process of negotiating over several days, we had sort of been up and down with numbers and staffing numbers,” Zoromski said.

Zoromski said he expressed his concerns and needs during the negotiation but they were not immediately addressed when presented to producers and staff. 

10:47 a.m. ET, October 27, 2021

"Rust" producers hired a firm to investigate fatal shooting

From CNN’s Joe Sutton

A law firm has been hired by “Rust” producers to investigate the shooting that killed the film's director of photography Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza, reported exclusively.

“In addition to cooperating with authorities, we hired a legal team from Jenner & Block to conduct an investigation of the events,” according to a communication sent Tuesday evening from the “Rust” production to cast and crew members, Deadline reported. “We have stressed that they will have full discretion about who to interview and any conclusions they draw.”

CNN has not received a copy of the letter that Deadline said was distributed to cast and crew members. CNN has reached out to law firm Jenner & Block for comment.

Today, the district attorney and the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office are expected to hold a news conference to provide an update on the investigation. 


10:27 a.m. ET, October 27, 2021

"Rust" script supervisor has evidence that will be "helpful" in investigation, attorney says

From CNN’s Lucy Kafanov and Jenn Selva

Attorney Gloria Allred says her client, “Rust” script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, has evidence which will be “helpful in this investigation” and has been interviewed by law enforcement.

In a statement, Allred said Mitchell was standing near Halyna Hutchins and director Joel Souza when they were shot and immediately ran out of the church. 

They believe she was the first person to call 911.

“Halyna was a friend and close colleague of Mamie,” Allred said in a statement.  “She is devastated by the loss of her friend who was an extraordinary woman. Mamie recently attended the vigil for Halyna and her heart goes out to Halyna’s husband and son to whom she has spoken.” 

Allred described her client as “traumatized” and said they are conducting their own investigation into what happened.

Hutchins was killed on set when actor and producer Alec Baldwin discharged a prop firearm last Thursday.