‘Rust’ shooting investigation nearing completion, still awaiting two key reports

Top line

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department said the investigation into the shooting on the set of the film Thursday RustWhen a Gun at Alec Baldwin’s Home Shot and Killed Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins is about to end after nearly 10 months, but two key parts are still up in the air.


The department received forensic reports from the FBI earlier this month, which were forwarded to the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator.

With the FBI documents, the IMO was able to conclude its own report, which it finalized and returned to the sheriff’s department for review on Wednesday.

The Sheriff’s Department, along with detectives from the Suffolk County Police Department in New York, are working to obtain, process and disclose Baldwin’s phone records, which are “coming soon.”

When the records are obtained by the Sheriff’s Department, “our detectives will then need to thoroughly review them ‘for evidentiary purposes,'” Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said in a statement.

Once the IMO report has been reviewed and the phone records are received and reviewed, “the Sheriff’s Office’s final investigative brief will be forwarded to the District Attorney for review and a final charging decision,” the statement said.

Luke Nikas, Baldwin’s attorney, said Forbes that he was told that “the Suffolk County PD has been processing ‘the actor’s phone records’ to turn them over to authorities in New Mexico and that will finally happen next week”.

Key Context

On October 21, a gun in Baldwin’s hand discharged during a rehearsal, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. Baldwin thought the gun was safe to use and said he did not pull the trigger on the gun. It’s unclear how live ammunition got to the film set, as they weren’t supposed to be there. Hutchins’ family sued Baldwin and other producers of the film for wrongful death. Mendoza said in April that no one was “immune from criminal charges”. Baldwin said he was not responsible for Hutchins’ death and believes a report released this spring by the New Mexico Department of the Environment’s Office of Occupational Health and Safety, which has revealed that the production ignored safety protocols that led to Hutchins’ death, “exonerates” him. Baudouin returned his phone to New York officials in January. Rust Movie Productions appealed the decision and the fine. District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies released A declaration last week saying that his office “received parts of the Rust investigation,” but was awaiting some key parts, including those mentioned in Thursday’s statement from the sheriff’s department. Once these unpaid portions are received, “the screening process will begin and my team and I will make a billing decision.” A special prosecutor has been added to the case.

Further reading

Rust Production Company appeals security breach fine (Forbes)

‘Rust’ production company fined for failing to follow safety procedures that led to shooting (Forbes)

Alec Baldwin sued by victim’s family for wrongful death in ‘Rust’ shooting (Forbes)

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