Rust Filming: Prosecutor Says Criminal Prosecution Possible | Alec baldwin
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Criminal charges have not been ruled out in Alec Baldwin’s fatal accidental shooting on the Rust film set, the local district attorney handling the case said in an interview.
Speaking to the New York Times on Tuesday, Santa Fe County Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies also said it was incorrect to characterize the gun used in the incident as a “propeller pistol,” as the media did.
“It was a legitimate weapon,” Carmack-Altwies told the newspaper. “It was an ancient weapon, adapted for the time.”
The prosecutor said that an “enormous quantity of bullets” had been found on the set and that an investigation was needed into the nature of the ammunition.
Of the possible charges, she told The Times: “Everything at this point, including the criminal charges, is on the table.”
Police are investigating the shootout on the set of the western in New Mexico that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza, who stood behind her.
The weapon Baldwin used was one of three that a gun specialist, or gunsmith, had placed on a cart outside the building where a scene was rehearsed, according to court records. Deputy Warden Dave Halls grabbed a gun from a cart and handed it to Baldwin, indicating the gun was safe by shouting “cold pistol”, according to court documents. But it was loaded with live bullets, according to records.
Baldwin described the murder as a “tragic accident”.
Court documents released on Tuesday showed authorities have so far seized three black revolvers, boxes of ammunition, a fanny pack with ammunition, several used casings, two leather pistol belts with holsters, clothing and swabs of what was believed to be blood.
The production has been in dispute since early October and included seven crew members who left the set hours before filming.
The Los Angeles Times, citing two anonymous crew members, reported that five days before the shooting, Baldwin’s stuntman accidentally fired two live ammunition after learning the gun had no ammunition.
Alarmed by the misfires, a team member said in a text message to a production manager at one unit: “We have now had 3 accidental discharges. It’s super dangerous, ”according to a copy of the post reviewed by the newspaper.
Meanwhile, crew members who have worked with Halls in the past told The Guardian that they raised concerns about safety on a previous film set. Halls did not respond to a Guardian request for comment.
Rust Movie Productions, the production company, said it is cooperating with Santa Fe authorities in their investigation.
“While we have not been made aware of any official complaints regarding the safety of weapons or props on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is down,” Rust Movie Productions said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.
As questions persist over safety protocols, Hollywood professionals say they are baffled by the circumstances and have called for better gun safety measures.
Jeffrey Wright, who worked on projects such as the James Bond franchise and the upcoming movie The Batman, was acting with a gun on the set of Westworld when news of the shooting broke Thursday at a ranch in New Mexico. “We were all pretty shocked. And that informed what we did from there on, ”he said in an interview Sunday at the Newport Beach Film Festival.
“I don’t remember ever being handed a weapon that was not cleared in front of me – ie open chamber, barrel shown to me, light flashed in there inside the barrel to make sure it’s clear, ”Wright said. “Obviously, it was a poorly managed package.”
A vigil for Cackling took place in Southern California on Sunday, where attendees exchanged tearful hugs and speakers echoed calls for increased safety standards.
Actress Rosanna Arquette has joined many in Hollywood in calling for a move away from the use of live weapons, whether blank or bullet armed.
“I hope this will wake people up. Because there should never be a live performance around anything in a movie. We have enough CGIs, we have enough – this is nonsense, ”she said. “We’re all upset in the industry about this.”
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