A New Mexico sheriff said Thursday that the “Rust” movie set shooting involving Alec Baldwin was being treated as a criminal investigation and he would not rule out charges or suspects in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
“I’d be careful using the word ‘accident,’” said Sante Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”
“This is obviously a tragedy and it was avoidable, so right now it’s a criminal investigation.”
Mendoza added that it was too early in the investigation to determine if charges would be filed but said that the department was working closely with District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.
“I will confirm that we haven’t ruled anybody out in regards to charges in this case. It’s still an active investigation and we’re still gathering statements and facts,” said Mendoza.
The Santa Fe County sheriff said that all suspects had given an initial statement and confirmed that some of the primary people of focus had retained counsel. He elaborated that these “focused individuals” included armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, assistant director David Halls and Baldwin himself.
During an interview with detectives, Halls noted that he typically checks the barrel of the gun for obstructions while Reed opens the hatch and spins the drum to advise him whether or not it is a “cold gun,” an industry term used to announce whether a gun has live ammunition or not.
He said in an affidavit that when Reed showed him the gun before continuing rehearsal that day, he could only remember seeing three rounds. He advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t recall if she spun the drum.
Mendoza said Wednesday during a press conference that the bullet that killed Hutchins was recovered by medical personnel in director Joel Souza’s shoulder.
The bullet and other evidence, including several rounds of ammunition, will be sent to the FBI crime lab in Quantico, Virginia, for analysis.
Fox News’ Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.