By Amir Vera, Cheri Mossburg and Josh Campbell, CNN
Newly released video evidence from the investigation into a deadly shooting last year on the set of the film “Rust” shows investigators’ first interview with actor Alec Baldwin shortly after the incident.
Baldwin was handling a gun while rehearsing a scene at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico in October when a shot fired, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.
In the first moments of his interview, Baldwin asks a deputy if he is being charged with anything, to which the deputy responds he is not, the video shows. The deputy explains it is just an interview before reading Baldwin his read his Miranda rights prior to questioning.
Footage of the interview, conducted in a small interview room, shows Baldwin describing the process of handling weapons and the usual steps taken on set.
“Do you think someone would do this deliberately?” the interviewer asks.
“I can’t imagine who would,” Baldwin quickly responded.
The video is one of several files released Monday by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, including photos, recordings and reports related to its investigation, which is ongoing, officials said.
“Various components of the investigation remain outstanding including, FBI firearm and ballistic forensics along with DNA and latent fingerprint analysis, Office of the New Mexico Medical Examiner findings report and the analysis of Mr. Alec Baldwin’s phone data extracted by Suffolk County (New York) Sheriff’s investigators,” Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said in a news release.
During his interview, Baldwin told officers he did not know the last name of the film’s armorer — Hannah Gutierrez Reed — and that she handed the gun directly to him.
When asked if he physically checked the gun himself, Baldwin replied in generalities about the process where the armorer checks the gun. He also described how Gutierrez Reed and her team helped outfit Baldwin with a holster, knife and gun.
Speaking quickly, Baldwin explained the process of firing a gun with a blank which requires the actor to react to the shot as if the gun “kicked back,” as it would when firing a live round. Baldwin goes through the motions of the scene, reaching across his body and using his thumb and forefinger to simulate the gun being drawn across his body.
“Bang! It went off — the first time,” Baldwin said of the weapon used in the rehearsal. “It was the first time we were shooting that shot, we were rehearsing for that shot.”
Baldwin’s attorney said the actor welcomes the investigation and said some of the information released Monday corroborates his description of events.
“The information that has been revealed by the authorities demonstrates, once again, that Mr. Baldwin acted responsibly and did not have control over any production issues that were identified in the OSHA report,” Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, said in a statement.
“Additionally, the interviews and affidavits disclosed today continue to corroborate Mr. Baldwin’s description of the events — including an affidavit from the Detective stating that the cameraman, who was standing next to Ms. Hutchins and Mr. Souza at the time of the accident, confirmed that Mr. Baldwin was ‘very careful’ with guns on the set,” the statement continued.
Last week, Rust Movie Productions, LLC was fined nearly $137,000 and cited for having a culture of “plain indifference to employee safety” on set, according to a report from New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health & Safety Bureau.
Gutierrez Reed’s attorneys told CNN last week she “was not provided adequate time or resources to conduct her job effectively, despite her voiced concerns.”
When reached for comment Monday, her attorney said they are reviewing the released material and not commenting at this time. Rust Productions LLC declined comment. CNN reached out to the supplier of the props used on set but has not heard back.
The family attorney for Matthew Hutchins, the widower of Halyna Hutchins, said in a statement they would not comment on the evidence release.
“We were surprised by the decision of the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office to release such a large amount of evidence today given that the investigation is still ongoing and active,” said attorney Brian Panish. “For this reason, we are not going to comment on the material released except to say we hope the press will exercise discretion in how they use the graphic images and videos of the fatal events of Oct 21, 2021.”
The Santa Fe County District Attorney’s Office will wait until the full investigation into the fatal shooting is complete before making a charging decision in the case, according to a statement obtained by CNN.
“The investigation is not complete,” a statement from DA Mary Carmack-Altwies read, adding that the sheriff’s office is still “awaiting essential reports and will not be completing their investigation until those reports have been submitted.”
“Once we receive the completed investigation and conduct a thorough and deliberate review of all evidence, a criminal charging decision will be made,” Carmack-Altwies’ statement read.
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CNN’s Paul Vercammen, Julia Jones and Chloe Melas contributed to this report.