Rust Armorer's Statement That There Were No Real Lead Bullets on Set Is 'Not Accurate,' Says Sheriff

·3 min read

The armorer on the set of Rust told authorities no live ammunition was kept on the set of the Western, but the Santa Fe County Sheriff said the statement was "not accurate."

On Thursday morning, Sheriff Adan Mendoza appeared on Today where he was asked if armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed's statement of "no live ammo is ever kept on set," according to a search warrant, was correct.

"No, obviously it isn't," Mendoza said. "That was a live round that struck and killed Ms. Hutchins so that's not an accurate statement as far as I'm concerned."

Last Thursday, authorities confirmed the film's star, Alec Baldwin, fatally struck cinematographer Halyna Hutchins with a real lead bullet on the New Mexico set of the film while rehearsing for scene with a gun. The bullet also hit director Joel Souza and was recovered from his shoulder.

Mendoza told Today, "The focus of the investigation is how the live rounds got there, who brought them there and why they were there. As far as if it's going to rise to the point of negligence or the point of criminal charges, we're hoping to work with the district attorney in reference to that."

RELATED: Alec Baldwin Shot Halyna Hutchins with a Real Bullet on the Rust Set, Authorities Say

He added, "The information that we got in the industry is that there should be no live rounds no set."

At a press conference Wednesday, Mendoza said investigators discovered "500 rounds of ammunition" on the set, including, "a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what we are suspecting are live rounds."

Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Juan Rios confirmed to PEOPLE afterward that "live rounds" means "real bullets."

It's unclear where the bullets came from. Mendoza told reporters Wednesday he believed "there was some complacency on this set."

Alec Baldwin, Halyna hutchins
Alec Baldwin, Halyna hutchins

Jesse Grant/Getty; Anthony Harvey/Getty Images Alec Baldwin, Halyna Hutchins

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Following Mendoza's comments Wednesday, Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies echoed that in terms of criminal charges against Baldwin or others, "all options are on the table at this point" and "no one has been ruled out" as they search for answers as to what led to the fatal shooting on the set of the Western film.

According to a search warrant affidavit from the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office, assistant director Dave Halls handed Baldwin a gun for a rehearsal, yelling "Cold Gun!" to indicate that it was not loaded and safe to handle. Baldwin then shot the Colt .45 revolver during the scene, hitting Hutchins and Souza.

Neither Halls nor Baldwin knew that the gun had live ammunition in it, according to the affidavit.

The investigation remains ongoing, with production on the film halted. No charges have been filed.

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