Additional live rounds found on 'Rust' set, Santa Fe DA says

Sam Wasson

More live rounds were found on the “Rust” film set where actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer, the Santa Fe County district attorney said.

The prosecutor, Mary Carmack-Altwies, who will decide whether to press charges, said Wednesday on ABC's “Good Morning America” that there were “many levels of failures” on the set.

Halyna Hutchins, 42, the film’s director of photography, was fatally shot and Joel Souza, 48, the director, was injured Oct. 21 at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico when Baldwin, 63, discharged a prop firearm loaded with a live round.

Carmack-Altwies acknowledged that more live rounds were found on the set but didn’t say how many. She said it was “concerning” that live rounds were found at all.

“We still don’t know how they got on the set. And how they got there, I think, will be one of the most important factors going into a charging decision,” she said.

“It’s probably more important to focus on what led up to the shooting, because the moment of the shooting, we know that at least Mr. Baldwin had no idea that the gun was loaded, so it’s more how did that gun get loaded, what levels of failure happened and were those levels of failure criminal?” she said.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office recovered the “lead projectile” in the shooting, as well as 500 other rounds, saying the set included blanks, dummy rounds and what investigators suspect are “live rounds.”

Carmack-Altwies, who said her office doesn’t yet have an answer for how live ammunition ended up on the set, rebutted any theories of sabotage.

“I know that some defense attorneys have come up with conspiracy theories and used the word ‘sabotage.’ We do not have proof,” she said. When asked whether sabotage is a possibility, she responded, “No.”

An attorney for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, the armorer on the set, said last week that he believes someone may have been trying to sabotage the set by putting a live round in a box of dummy ammunition.

“How did a live round get on set, and who put that live round on the set?” the lawyer, Jason Bowles, asked on NBC’s “TODAY” show last week.

Carmack-Altwies said authorities are looking at Gutierrez-Reed’s qualifications for the job as part of their investigation.

She said her office knows who loaded the gun before the shooting, but she wouldn’t name the person.

If sabotage is found, the district attorney’s office would consider “certainly a higher level of murder charge than we would potentially be looking at with the facts we have now,” she said.

Carmack-Altwies said her office is prepared to press criminal charges “if the circumstances warrant it.”

“We will do our best to get justice for Halyna Hutchins and Joel Souza,” she said.

Baldwin released a statement after the shooting saying he is cooperating with the investigation and is in contact with Hutchins’ family.

“There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours,” he wrote.