‘Rust’ Shooting Investigation Ongoing Despite Alec Baldwin Saying He’s Been Cleared


The sheriff’s department investigating last year’s fatal shooting on the set of the film “Rust” said Monday that it’s still gathering key evidence, throwing cold water on actor Alec Baldwin’s recent claim that he’s been cleared of any wrongdoing.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department’s investigation “remains open and ongoing,” the department said as it released files related to the investigation, including footage of the aftermath of the shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.

According to Sheriff Adan Mendoza, “various components of the investigation remain outstanding,” including FBI firearm and ballistic forensics, DNA and fingerprint analysis, findings from the Office of the New Mexico Medical Examiner, and analysis of Baldwin’s phone data.

The investigation will not be handed over to the district attorney’s office for review until that evidence is gathered, Mendoza said.

Baldwin, who was starring in and producing the film, released a statement from his attorney last week suggesting a report from the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau had cleared him of malfeasance on set.

“We appreciate that the report exonerates Mr. Baldwin by making clear that he believed the gun held only dummy rounds,” his lawyer wrote. “Additionally, the report recognizes that [his] authority on the production was limited to approving script changes and creative casting.”

Baldwin also maintains that he did not pull the trigger.

During and after production, the film’s crew complained that those at the helm of the project did not properly explain or enforce firearm safety on set. Investigators found that Baldwin’s fatal shot was the fourth time a prop gun had fired unintentionally during filming.

The unionized crew eventually walked off the set, citing a lack of firearms safety and medics, as well as poor COVID-19 protocols. Production also failed to provide hotel rooms near the remote filming location, forcing many crew members to commute for an hour on top of their 13-hour shifts, leaving them without adequate time to sleep.

The documents released Monday include text messages of the crew’s complaints, witness interviews and police officers’ lapel and dash-camera footage, but none establish how live ammunition got on set.

The newly released videos show Baldwin’s first conversations with police and investigators, both on set and at the police station. The actor is cooperative, asking that officers “tell [him] what to do.”

Other footage shows Hutchins and Souza on the ground following the shooting, as well as Souza recounting the ordeal from his hospital room.

“The armorer handed the actor a gun,” he said, referring to the on-set armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed and Baldwin. “I don’t know if she said it was cold or clean, but she handed him a gun and there was a bang — a louder bang than I’ve heard come from a blank before.”

Baldwin’s legal team did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on the sheriff’s comments and files.