A day after posting videos and documents related to the fatal shooting on the set of “Rust”, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza told NBC’s “Today” that the text messages are “concerning and that the investigation continues to find out who brought live ammunition to the set.
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed and director Joel Souza injured during rehearsal for a scene for the film on the New Mexico set in October.
“At this time, no one has come forward and admitted to bringing the live rounds to the set. There was information from text messages that was concerning based on the fact that live ammunition had been hinted at and may have been used on a previous film set and it was only a few months before production began on the ‘Rust’ film set, so that’s concerning,” Sheriff Mendoza said.
Among the items investigators are looking at are text messages that “Rust” movie gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez Reed shared with an ammunition supplier for a previous movie in 2021 — not “Rust” — where she said that she planned to fire live ammunition during filming.
The text exchange was included in Monday’s public release of files related to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office’s ongoing investigation.
A law enforcement official told CNN they considered the text exchange important as they were trying to determine if the gunsmith used to conduct live-fire drills at the same time she was responsible for security on the sets.
Gutierrez Reed’s attorney, Jason Bowles, told CNN his client wanted to fire the gun to understand how the historic weapon works, and maintains that she did not fire live ammunition on set.
Mendoza said the investigation into the case is currently over 200 pages and they are still awaiting forensic reports from the FBI and the final report from the Office of the Medical Investigator.
“It is difficult to determine at this time the path the case will take,” he said. “I’ve said it before, I think there was complacency on set. There was disorganization and a degree of negligence. Whether this reaches a criminal level will depend on the district attorney. »
He also said actor Alec Baldwin will ultimately be held responsible for the shooting that killed the film’s cinematographer and injured the assistant director will be left with the district attorney’s office.
“I don’t think anyone is off the hook when it comes to criminal charges,” Mendoza said.
In an effort to be “transparent” about the “Rust” shooting investigation, Sheriff Mendoza said the release of detailed information was part of a request for public records.
“As you can see it’s a massive amount of information, and it took us a while to put it all together and we tried to release it as soon as we had everything together and had a way to release the information,” Mendoza said.