The Santa Fe County Heriff’s newly released investigative reports on “Rust” highlight a spate of messages sent by Alec Baldwin in the days following the accidental fatal shooting of a cameraman, as the actor struggled to make sense of what was on happened that day – and whether he would face charges.
After the tragedy, Baldwin reached out to the low-budget western’s prop master, a cameraman who was at the old wooden church that day, the sheriff’s detective who was investigating the incident, and Halyna Hutchins’ husband, who died afterward a bullet fired from a prop cannon pierced her chest.
Hutchins’ attorney eventually sent Baldwin a cease and desist letter, according to a report that was part of a 551-page investigation file released Friday by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.
“I will tell you that one of the more significant and salient points I made there was that the gun was NEVER intended to be fired at that camera angle,” Baldwin wrote in a text message to Hutchins — just weeks later the fatal shooting.
In another message to Hutchins, Baldwin wrote, “The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office may lack both the ability and the will to properly investigate the angle of sabotage. I’m told their agenda is to dismiss it as an accident and throw it in the civil courts. And yet, the more information that is presented to me that day about specific anomalies, the more receptive I become.”
Sheriff’s investigators completed their investigation last month and turned the findings over to First Circuit District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies to determine whether anyone should be charged in Hutchin’s death.
Carmack-Altwies said up to four people, including Baldwin, could be charged. The actor has denied wrongdoing, citing negligence by other crew members.
The report revealed that detectives searching for clues leading to the deadly October 2021 Hutchins shooting and the wounding of “Rust” director Joel Souza were stalled for months trying to gain access to Baldwin’s cell phone.
Nearly three months after the incident, Baldwin turned over his phone to the Suffolk County, New York Police Department, who responded by conducting a month-long data copying project.
Baldwin’s attorney was given several days to review the records to ensure personal information and privileged conversations between Baldwin and his wife and Baldwin and his attorney were removed before handing the files over to the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office in August handed over.
“During review by Alec’s attorneys, a ‘confidential’ document was produced outlining several items on the phone that were ‘marked for removal’ from the final extraction report,” according to a Sept. 7 detective report.
The phone log showed that no phone calls from the day of the shooting were included in the report. The sheriff’s camera footage shows Baldwin talking on his cell phone when he was first approached by a sheriff’s deputy after the shooting.
Two days after the incident, Baldwin sent a message to his assistant, Jonah Foxman, advising “I need to clear my archive,” according to the detective report, which added, “There are no further details on the meaning of this message.”
Baldwin also wrote to Sarah Zachry, the props master, the same day, saying the sheriff’s office would not tell him if he would be charged.
In December, he asked the sheriff’s lead investigator when the investigation would be over, as the matter “strained his work,” records show.
The report also revealed that sheriff’s deputies responding to the “Rust” shooting quickly spotted numerous live bullets mingling with the so-called dummy rounds, including one on the prop cart and at least one in the bandolier carrying the gun Baldwin wore.
Authorities have not said how the bullets were mixed into the sluggish rounds of film bullets.
Deputies encountered a chaotic scene as Baldwin and other crew members struggled to make sense of what they had just witnessed. Paramedics worked feverishly to rescue Hutchins and Souza, who were bleeding profusely on the floor of an old wooden church.
Baldwin once shot Hutchins, 42, in the chest during a rehearsal after the actor was told his prop pistol, a Colt .45 pistol, was “cold,” meaning there was no ammunition inside. But the gun contained at least one live cartridge.
Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office files also found a photo on gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez Reed’s cell phone that showed an unidentified man firing a handgun in a New Mexico arroyo a few days before the tragedy.
Last week, Baldwin Gutierrez sued Reed, Zachry, the gun supplier and first assistant director, for negligence, which he blames for the fatal shooting.
The actor filed the filing as a counterclaim in the ongoing case brought by ‘Rust’ writer Mamie Mitchell, who is suing Baldwin for assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.
Baldwin and his attorney cited text messages, FBI analysis and other parts of the investigation to show that the crew members and supplier were negligent in using the guns and ammunition, putting the actor at risk.
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2022-11-18/alec-baldwin-santa-fe-sheriffs-office-rust-shooting-investigation-hutchins Alec Baldwin left flurry of messages after ‘Rust’ shooting