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FBI completes ‘Rust’ shooting report as investigation continues

New Mexico law enforcement officers are still waiting to review data from Alec Baldwin’s cellphone.



Sheriff’s officials in New Mexico announced on Thursday that the FBI’s forensic investigation into the fatal shooting committed by Alec Baldwin last year on the set of the low-budget western “Rust” has been completed.

The completion of the FBI report is a significant achievement, even if the results of the agency’s forensic tests were not made public.

With the bureau’s findings in hand, New Mexico authorities can once again determine whether or not criminal charges are warranted in cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’s death on October 21.

After being told that his Colt.45 pistol prop “was cold,” meaning there was no ammunition inside, Baldwin shot Hutchins, 42, in the chest during a rehearsal. However, there was at least one functioning bullet in the gun. The film’s director, Joel Souza, was hit by the same bullet.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office has been waiting for the FBI’s analysis for the past few months, which has slowed down the criminal investigation. Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Juan Rios said in a statement on Thursday that the FBI had delivered its findings on August 2. The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator received the findings from the deputies this week and concluded its investigation.

Law enforcement has stated that they still require access to Baldwin’s cellphone data. Three agencies in two states are involved in the time-consuming process of gathering that data.

In order to obtain Baldwin’s phone records, the District Attorney’s office has been coordinating with the Suffolk County Police Department and Baldwin’s attorney “Thursday’s statement from Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza. “After the Suffolk County Police Department has finished its agency assist and sent the records to New Mexico authorities, our detectives will need to carefully examine the data for any evidence it may contain. Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office did say that Baldwin’s phone records “are forthcoming.”

Mendoza has previously stated that his office was investigating Baldwin, the set’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, and the assistant director who gave Baldwin the gun, Dave Halls. After the cast and crew returned from lunch, neither Gutierrez Reed nor Halls inspected the pistol, according to statements made to deputies.

The tragedy has become a call to action for the film industry to create safer film sets.

Authorities claim that during a rehearsal in the old wooden church, the film’s assistant director, Dave Halls, handed Baldwin a replica of a vintage Colt pistol and told him it was “cold,” despite the fact that it contained at least one live bullet.

On the twelfth day of a 21-day film shoot at Bonanza Creek Ranch, the crew members were left wondering how live bullets had made it onto the property.

Testimony from the past has revealed that tensions existed on set. A large portion of the camera crew had already left the set hours before the fatal shooting to complain to the film’s producers about the alleged lack of care for safety and the refusal to pay for nearby lodging.

The weekend before Hutchins’ death, tensions had arisen among the small props crew due to the heavy workload and two accidental weapon discharges. Guttierez Reed had whined that he was being overworked. It was a lot for her to handle, working as both an armorer and a props assistant.

A production manager had reprimanded Gutierrez Reed a week prior to the fatal accident for not paying enough attention while handling props.

In an email sent on October 14 and obtained by The Times, Gutierrez Reed lamented, “Since we’ve started, I’ve had a lot of days where my job should only be to focus on the guns and everyone’s safety.” She said that the assistant props role “has to take a back seat” on days when there are a lot of gun scenes to film. I place a high value on using real firearms during filming.

After reviewing the medical investigator’s reports and the phone records, detectives will hand over the entire investigative case file to the District Attorney, according to a statement released by the Sheriff’s Office on Thursday.

Mary Carmack-Altwies, the First District Attorney of New Mexico, and her team of prosecutors will decide whether to file criminal charges.

The Los Angeles Times was the first to publish the story.