Prosecutors take over Baldwin shooting investigation

Associated Press

SANTA FE, NM (AP) — A sheriff’s department presented its investigative findings to prosecutors Thursday in the death of a cinematographer shot and killed by Alec Baldwin on a New Mexico film set in October 2021 .

Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office spokesman Juan Ríos said two binders of information were turned over to the Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office, without making any recommendations on possible criminal charges.

He said the case file outlines all of the evidence collected, including investigative interviews and the FBI’s forensic analysis of physical evidence. District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said through a spokeswoman that investigators and prosecutors will now begin a thorough review to make a timely decision on whether to bring charges, without mentioning specific deadlines.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died shortly after being injured by a gunshot while setting up a scene for the western film “Rust” at a filming ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe on October 21, 2021 Baldwin was pointing a gun at Hutchins when the gun went off, killing her and injuring director Joel Souza.

The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office has already released a vast treasure trove of law enforcement records relating to the fatal shooting, including rear-view camera video of the fatally injured Hutchins, witness interviews, email threads, text conversations, ammunition inventories and hundreds of photographs.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza described “a degree of negligence” on the “Rust” set, but leaves decisions about possible criminal charges up to prosecutors.

Hutchins’ family – widower Matthew Hutchins and 9-year-old son Andros – recently settled a lawsuit against the producers of ‘Rust’ under an agreement that aims to restart filming with Matthew participating as producer executive.

Baldwin said the gun accidentally detonated and he didn’t pull the trigger. But a recent FBI forensic report found the gun could not have fired unless the trigger was pulled.

The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator determined the shooting to be an accident following an autopsy and review of law enforcement reports.

Rust Movie Productions continues to challenge the basis of a $137,000 fine against the company by New Mexico workplace safety regulators who say production managers on set failed to follow standard safety protocols. industry for gun safety. The state Occupational Health and Safety Review Board has scheduled an eight-day hearing on the disputed penalties for April 2023.

In April, the New Mexico Office of Occupational Health and Safety levied the maximum fine on Rust Movie Productions and distributed a scathing account of safety violations, including testimony that officials of the production took little to no action to remedy two misfires on set blanks before the death. filming.

Rust Movie Productions told safety regulators that the misfires prior to Hutchins’ fatal shooting did not violate safety protocols and that “appropriate corrective action was taken”, including briefings from cast and crew. the team.

Other legal troubles persist in connection with the film and the murderous shooting.