'Rust' shooting investigation: Sheriff says nobody 'is off the hook' while awaiting key evidence
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza says nobody "is off the hook" in the Rust shooting.
The sheriff's office released all files associated with its ongoing investigation on Monday — hundreds of pieces of evidence, including video of actor Alec Baldwin rehearsing with the antique revolver that discharged killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in October. Mendoza made it clear in an interview Tuesday that nobody has been cleared when it comes to potential criminal negligence.
"It's too early to rule anything out right now," Mendoza said on Tuesday's Today show. "I don't think anybody's off the hook when it comes to criminal charges."
He pointed out that the key evidence they are waiting for in the investigation remains outstanding, including the FBI analysis of the firearm, ammunition and projectile, DNA and latent fingerprint analysis, the coroner's findings and analysis of Baldwin's phone data.
All of that is "a key component" to the investigation, Mendoza said.
"I've said this before: I think there was complacency on the set," he said. "There was disorganization and a degree of negligence, whether that rises to a criminal level, that will be up to the district attorney."
The sheriff was asked about Baldwin saying in an ABC News interview last year that he isn't to blame for the shooting, and he replied, "Whether he is responsible or not will be up to the district attorney's office."
He also spoke about there being a live round in the gun, which never should have been on the set, noting that too is also a key part of the investigation.
"Right now, no one has come forward and admitted to bringing the live rounds onto the movie set," he said. However, there were "concerning" text messages amid the finding in which armor Hannah Gutierrez Reed asked about live ammunition for a film several months before Rust production began.
The reason the investigation findings — including interviews, text messages and bodycam footage — were released Monday was because of a public records record request. Mendoza also said it was "to be transparent" about the high-profile investigation.
There is a video of Baldwin drawing the revolver in rehearsal moments before the gun fired. Deputy body camera footage showed him in the moments after the shooting. Baldwin was asked, "Are you doing OK?" He replied, "I'm not actually." And crime scene investigators photographed Baldwin in his bloody costume.
Gutierrez Reed was clearly shaken up in other footage and admitted she was "so scared" as she spoke with investigators. She seemed to not know Baldwin had the gun at the time of the shooting. She also said she checked the ammunition and thought they were dummies.
Also, there was an interview with ammunition provider Seth Kenney, owner of PDQ Arm & Prop, in which he said Gutierrez Reed asked him, via text, for live ammo during the filming of a previous movie. He claimed, "She wanted to shoot live ammo out of the guns. The TV-movie guns. I said no effing way obviously."
Gutierrez Reed, who has denied she was at fault, is suing Kenney, alleging he supplied a mismarked box of ammunition containing live rounds to the set, claiming it contributed to the deadly accident.