The Rust shooting investigation files released this week show Alec Baldwin’s reaction to hearing Halyna Hutchins had died.
The 64-year-old actor, who claims he was practicing a scenario for the film when he cocked the vintage Colt revolver and it went off, covered his mouth in horror after learning on Oct. 21 from Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office investigators that the cinematographer had died from her injuries.
“No!” said Baldwin, pushing back his chair back and putting a hand over his mouth.
According to Yahoo, the star, who readily agreed to be interviewed by authorities after the shooting and was read his Miranda rights, sat there stunned as detectives told him director Joel Souza, who was hit by the projectile after it exited Hutchins, was still at the hospital, “but [Hutchins] didn’t make it.”
Baldwin sat seemingly frozen.
“I didn’t want you to hear it outside of here,” Detective Hancock said as Baldwin put his hand to his chest and then head. Asked what they could do for him, Baldwin said he wanted to call his wife, Hilaria.
In other interview footage, Baldwin was shown the projectile taken from Souza’s shoulder and replied, “That’s a bullet… Somebody put a live round in the gun” versus dummy rounds.
“I’m so sickened by this,” he said. “That a bullet passed through this girl’s body. And she’s in critical condition in the hospital right now, and I fired the gun. And you don’t think I feel really s***ty about that? I do.”
Baldwin also stated many times that the gun was delivered to him by enlisted person Hannah Gutierrez Reed prior to the accidental shooting. In other interviews, he claimed that the gun was given to him by assistant director David Halls.
Baldwin was seen on the Bonanza Creek Ranch in the aftermath of the accidental gunshot in other recordings released Monday by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. Crime scene detectives took pictures of him in his movie attire. They also shot his hands.
Despite his claims that he was not feeling well, he cooperated with investigators.
“I’m happy to stay right here and do everything you need,” he said to a deputy in one clip. “My hands are shaking.”
At another moment, he was told they wanted to interview him and armor Gutierrez Reed at their office, he replied, “You just tell me what to do. Just tell me what to do.”
Another video shows Baldwin and other crew members being notified of Hutchins’ gunshot wound, and how the missile hit her in the chest and exited at her back left shoulder blade. Then it hit Souza. While some openly cried, Baldwin asked questions.
There was further bodycam footage with Baldwin explaining to investigators how he turned and cocked the gun and it “goes off. It’s supposed to be a cold gun. Nothing. No flash charges, nothing.” He said it was “a puzzle to me, and it’s making me very emotional now.”
Baldwin’s lawyer, Luke Nikas, said the probe is welcome and that the latest disclosures prove he acted responsibly.
Some experts, though, think it will work against him.
“The video showing Alec Baldwin being interviewed by sheriff’s investigators is Exhibit A for why anyone talking to law enforcement about his actions needs to have a lawyer present, even if the person doesn’t think he faces any liability,” L.A. personal injury attorney Miguel Custodio, of Custodio and Dubey, tells Yahoo Entertainment. “[He] made a lot of unforced errors in that first interview with investigators and plaintiff’s attorneys are going to have a field day with all his misstatements,” including that Gutierrez Reed handed him the weapon. “It’s not a good look for him.”
No criminal charges have been filed as of yet, while Sheriff Adan Mendoza of Santa Fe County stated Tuesday that no one is “off the hook.” The gun, projectile, and additional ammunition found on the set are awaiting FBI analysis. Because the phone was not turned up immediately, the data on Baldwin’s phone has yet to be evaluated.
According to Neama Rahmani of West Coast Trial Lawyers, a former federal prosecutor, phone data is still an important part of the inquiry.
“Prosecutors could still make a decision on whether to file criminal charges even without ballistic forensics or fingerprint analysis because those issues aren’t in dispute,” Rahmani says. “It’s really the cellphone data and the possibility of some smoking gun in a text message that’s holding up the investigation and the decision on whether to file charges.”
Multiple lawsuits have been filed against Baldwin, who is also a producer on the film, including one by Hutchins’ family.
This evidence dump, according to L.A. criminal defense attorney Joshua Ritter of Werksman Jackson & Quinn, will work against the star in those civil claims.
“Unfortunately for Baldwin, his outlook continues to darken as details of a chaotic set with few safety precautions continue to come to light,” he says. “Things are going from bad to worse for him in all the civil litigation he’s facing.”
Last week, the Rust production company was fined the maximum penalty of $136,793 by New Mexico over the fatal shooting, citing “several management failures and more than sufficient evidence to suggest that if standard industry practices were followed … [the tragedy] would not have occurred.”