Investigators’ first interview with actor Alec Baldwin shortly after the incident is shown in newly released video evidence from the investigation into a deadly shooting on the set of the film “Rust” last year.
When a shot fired while Baldwin was rehearsing a scene at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico in October, it killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.
Baldwin asks a deputy if he is being charged with anything in the first moments of his interview, to which the deputy responds that he is not, according to the video. The deputy clarifies that this is just an interview before reading Baldwin his Miranda rights and questioning him. Footage of the interview, conducted in a small interview room, shows Baldwin describing the process of handling weapons and the usual steps taken on set.
“Do you think someone would do this deliberately?” the interviewer asks.
“I can’t imagine who would,” Baldwin quickly responded.
The video is one of several files released Monday by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, which also included photos, recordings, and reports from its ongoing investigation.
“Various components of the investigation remain outstanding,” Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said in a news release, “including FBI firearm and ballistic forensics, DNA and latent fingerprint analysis, Office of the New Mexico Medical Examiner findings report, and the analysis of Mr. Alec Baldwin’s phone data extracted by Suffolk County (New York) Sheriff’s investigators.”
Baldwin told officers during his interview that he didn’t know the last name of the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, and that she handed the gun to him directly. When asked if he checked the gun himself, Baldwin only gave broad generalizations about how the armorer checks the gun. He also talked about how Gutierrez Reed and her team assisted Baldwin in getting a holster, knife, and gun.
Baldwin explained quickly how to fire a blank gun, which necessitates the actor reacting to the shot as if the gun “kicked back,” as it would when firing a live round. Baldwin goes through the motions of the scene, reaching across his body and simulating the gun being drawn across his body with his thumb and forefinger.
“Bang! It went off the first time it went off “The weapon used in the rehearsal, according to Baldwin. “It was the first time we were shooting that shot, we were rehearsing for that shot.”
Baldwin’s lawyer said the actor appreciates the investigation and that some of the information released Monday backs up his account of what happened.
Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, said in a statement that “the information that has been revealed by the authorities demonstrates, once again, that Mr. Baldwin acted responsibly and did not have control over any production issues that were identified in the OSHA report.”
“Moreover, the interviews and affidavits released today continue to corroborate Mr. Baldwin’s account of the events — including an affidavit from the Detective stating that the cameraman, who was standing next to Ms. Hutchins and Mr. Souza at the time of the accident, confirmed that Mr. Baldwin was ‘very careful’ with guns on the set,” the statement continued.
According to a report from the New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health & Safety Division, Rust Movie Productions, LLC was fined nearly $137,000 and cited for having a culture of “plain indifference to employee safety” on set last week.
Her attorney said they are reviewing the released material and will not comment at this time when reached for comment on Monday.
In a statement, the family attorney for Matthew Hutchins, Halyna Hutchins’ widower, said they would not comment on the evidence release.
According to a statement, the Santa Fe County District Attorney’s Office will not make a charging decision in the case until the full investigation into the fatal shooting is completed.