The moment Alec Baldwin learned Halyna Hutchins died is captured within the Rust shooting investigation materials released this week.
The 64-year-old actor, who was rehearsing a scene for the film when he says he cocked the vintage Colt revolver and it went off, covered his mouth in shock after being told by Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office investigators on Oct. 21 that the cinematographer succumbed to her injuries.
“No!” said Baldwin, pushing back his chair and putting a hand over his mouth.
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 showing 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 said multiple times that armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed handed him the gun prior to the accidental shooting. However, in other interviews, he has said that assistant director David Halls gave him the gun.
Other videos, released Monday by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, showed Baldwin on the Bonanza Creek Ranch in the aftermath of the accidental shooting. He was photographed by crime scene investigators in his movie wardrobe. They also took photos of his hands.
While he said he was not doing well, he was cooperative 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 showed Baldwin and other crew members being informed of Hutchins’s gunshot injury, and how she was hit in the chest and the projectile went through his body, exiting at her back left shoulder blade. It then hit Souza. Baldwin asked questions as others openly weeped.
There was further body cam 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 attorney, Luke Nikas, said Baldwin welcomes the investigation and that the new releases show he acted responsibly.
However, some experts say it could 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,” LA 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.”
To date, no criminal charges have been filed — though Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said Tuesday that no one “is off the hook.” Authorities are waiting on FBI analysis of the gun, the projectile and other ammunition found on the set. Baldwin’s phone data has yet to be analyzed as there was a delay in the phone being turned over.
Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani, of West Coast Trial Lawyers, tells Yahoo Entertainment the phone data remains an important part of this investigation.
“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.”
Baldwin, also a producer on the film, has been the target of multiple lawsuits, including one filed by Hutchins’s family.
LA criminal defense attorney Joshua Ritter, with Werksman Jackson & Quinn, thinks this evidence dump will work against the star in those civil cases.
“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.”