Though actor Alec Baldwin claimed that “someone is responsible for what happened,” but “I know it’s not me,” when speaking to George Stephanopoulos Thursday night, Sante Fe DA Mary Carmack-Altwies stated he, and several others involved, could still be held liable.
“Everyone involved in the handling and use of firearms on the set had a duty to behave in a manner such that the safety of others was protected,” Mary Carmack-Altwies told TMZ, “and it appears that certain actions and inactions contributed to this outcome.”
The Sante Fe County District Attorney is still working through the investigation, but Alec Baldwin’s latest claim that the prop gun misfired without him every pulling the trigger has not altered the minds of authorities following leads in the case.
“Once I have had the opportunity to review the complete investigation, certain individuals may be criminally culpable for his/her actions and/or inactions on the set of Rust,” Mary Carmack-Altwies said.
The Colt .45 antique revolver could have accidentally misfired, according to weapons experts and armorers, but the chances of that happening are still incredibly rare. Even if Alec Baldwin did not point the gun and fire at the camera, resulting in cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’ death, there are also still a myriad of other safety issues he, and many other crew members, are also involved in.
Assistant director Dave Halls, who also backed Baldwin’s theory that he never pulled the trigger, also did not check the gun for live rounds before handing it to the actor for use. He informed Alec Baldwin that the gun was “cold,” meaning that it was empty, and Baldwin did not confirm that to be correct before practicing, which went against gun safety protocol.
Also potentially liable are rookie armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and her mentor/gun supplier Seth Kenney. On the set of Rust, Reed was allegedly in charge of setting up the firearm cart and locking away the weapons when they weren’t in use.
Not only did authorities find live ammo lying around on the cart when there shouldn’t have been any set, but Reed also allegedly did not confirm that the guns were not loaded before they were added to the cart for use on set. Seth Kenney, her hired mentor and prop store owner who supplied the film with firearms, is also being investigated as the source of the live rounds fired out of Baldwin’s gun.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adam Mendoza was equally not convinced by Alec Baldwin’s interview, stating on Thursday that “guns don’t just go off.”
“Whatever needs to happen to manipulate the firearm, he did that and it was in his hands,” Mendoza said.
Baldwin remains adamant however that the trigger was not pulled and that it was a complete accident.
“I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them, never,” Baldwin said during the interview. “Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property.”
Many legal experts were surprised that the actor sat down for an interview despite the investigation being ongoing, especially since he was previously advised by the Sheriff’s department not to discuss matters of the case.
“There is a reason attorneys tell clients who are the subject of a potential investigation to keep their mouths shut,” a New York City-based defense attorney Julie Rendelman told Newsweek. “Anything they say can be used against them in either a civil or criminal arena.”