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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5:32 p.m. ET, October 27, 2021

"Rust" armorer "mishandled" guns on previous film with Nicolas Cage, crew members say

From CNN's Chloe Melas

Two crew members tell CNN that Hannah Gutierrez, 24, who was the lead armorer on the set of "Rust," mishandled weapons on a previous film project.

Stu Brumbaugh, the key grip on "The Old Way," told CNN that Gutierrez handled guns on the set of that project in a reckless manner and that he urged the film's assistant director to fire her.

“There’s a universal way to handle weapons on set and immediately red flags went up when I worked with Hannah,” Brumbaugh said. “This is why I asked for her dismissal.”

“This is why people get injured because of rookie mistakes,” he said. 

CNN has reached out to the film's production company and the assistant director on the film for comment. CNN has also reached out to Gutierrez.  

Brumbaugh cited an incident in which Gutierrez fired a gun near the film's star Nicolas Cage without warning. 

"Make an announcement! You just blew my f***ing eardrums out!" Cage screamed in response and then walked off set angrily, according to Brumbaugh. 

“She was talking to the stunt coordinator, and she just fired off a round, it sounded [like she fired] at the ground, and that’s when Nick really laid into her. That’s when I said she needs to be let go, she’s the most inexperienced armorer I had ever worked with. I have no idea why she wasn’t let go.”

CNN has reached out to Cage for comment.

Brumbaugh's allegations were first reported by The Wrap. 

Gutierrez is the daughter of longtime Hollywood armorer, Thell Reed. "Rust" was her second film as an armorer. She said on an episode of The Voices of the West podcast in September that she was "nervous" to work on "The Old Way."  

"I almost didn't take the job because I wasn't sure if I was ready, but doing it, like it went really smoothly," she said during the podcast.

A source who worked on “The Old Way" and requested their name not be included for fear of professional reprisal told CNN they also had concerns about Gutierrez's work on the project. 

"She walked out onto the set with live rounds with no announcement whatsoever to the cast and crew by her," the source said. "She never announced to anyone that she was walking on the set carrying firearms loaded with blanks with her."

"She didn't carry the firearms safely. She had pistols tucked under her armpits and was carrying rifles in each hand that were ready to be used in the scene," this individual added. "Firearms were aimed at people. She turned around and the pistols that were tucked under her armpits were pointing back at people."

On Wednesday, the Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said investigators believe the gun fired by "Rust" producer and star Alec Baldwin contained a "suspected live round."

Mendoza said Gutierrez, Baldwin and others on the "Rust" set at the time of the shooting are cooperating with the investigation.

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

Sheriff’s department says Alec Baldwin has been interviewed multiple times

From CNN’s Leslie Perrot

(Jim Spellman/Getty Images)
(Jim Spellman/Getty Images)

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department has interviewed actor Alec Baldwin multiple times, according to Juan Rios, the department’s public information officer.

Speaking to reporters off camera after the sheriff’s news conference on Wednesday, Rios said that the assistant director, David Halls, and armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, have been interviewed at least once but he was unsure if it was more than that.

Rios also said that the department considers this a “shooting investigation” not a “homicide investigation."

2:41 p.m. ET, October 27, 2021

Santa Fe County Sheriff considers the projectile that killed Hutchins a "suspected live round"

From CNN’s Kay Jones

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza speaks to the press on October 27.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza speaks to the press on October 27. (Photo by Nick Layman/AFP/Getty Images)

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said they consider the projectile that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins a “suspected live round.”

Hutchins was killed last week as actor Alec Baldwin was practicing drawing a prop gun during rehearsals on the set of “Rust.”

During a news conference Wednesday, Mendoza said officials suspect there were other live rounds on set but wouldn't comment on how they got there. 

Mendoza also clarified that the 500 rounds of ammunition found on the set were a mix of blanks, dummy rounds, and suspected live rounds.

He said that of the three guns seized from the set, one was altered and not functioning and the other was plastic.

“The facts are clear: a weapon was handed to Mr. Baldwin. The weapon is functional and fired a live round killing Ms. Hutchins,” Mendoza said. 

He said a dead projectile recovered by Souza’s shoulder and the FBI crime lab will determine make of bullet and if it was fired from actual firearm. He said the testing still needs to be done.

He said the projectile was “apparently” the same round that killed Hutchins but will leave that determination to the medical examiner. 

Mendoza said that Alec Baldwin has been cooperative in the investigation. He said several individuals still need to be interviewed. He is not putting a timeline on to when it will be completed. 

District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies also said during the news conference that prosecution will be initiated if facts and documents support charges. She said all options are on the table at this point and asks that the sheriff’s office be allowed to continue with the investigation. 

1:23 p.m. ET, October 27, 2021

"Rust" producers hire firm to investigate fatal shooting

From CNN's Chloe Melas and Joe Sutton

A spokesperson for the law firm Jenner & Block confirmed to CNN it is investigating the fatal shooting on the set of "Rust" on behalf of the film’s producers.

Previously, Deadline.com reported that a law firm had been hired by “Rust” producers to investigate the shooting that killed the film's director of photography Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.

“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.”
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."