Criminal Charges 'on the Table' for Alec Baldwin Shooting, Prosecutors Warn
Santa Fe County District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies insista charges not ruled out
Criminal charges are very much "on the table" in the fatal accidental shooting by Hollywood star Alec Baldwin, local prosecutors have warned.
Legal documents have revealed more details about the on-set tragedy that left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead and director Joel Souza injured.
Accordng to the docs, Baldwin was drawing a gun across his body and pointing it at a camera during a rehearsal when it fired on the Santa Fe set of the movie "Rust."
Baldwin was reportedly handed a "prop gun" and was told it was unloaded, affidavits containing statements from Souza and camera operator Reid Russell state.
However, Santa Fe County District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies has now revealed that criminal charges have not been ruled out, citing evidence that conflicts with crew statements.
The DA told The New York Times that the firearm used in the incident was a "legit" and "antique-era appropriate gun," and not a "prop" as claimed in statements.
The prosecutor added that an "enormous amount of bullets" had been found on the set and an investigation was needed into the nature of that ammunition.
"Everything at this point, including criminal charges, is on the table," Carmack-Altwies told the Times.
It follows reports that the gun the 63-year-old actor used to accidentally kill Hutchins was used by crew members to shoot at beer cans just hours before the incident.
According to an insider with knowledge of the set, several crew members on the set had taken several prop guns out the morning of the incident to go "plinking" - a hobby in which people shoot at beer cans with live ammunition to pass the time.
The individual, who spoke on condition of anonymity to The Wrap, added that the round of unsanctioned target practice occurred last Thursday, just hours before Baldwin discharged one of the weapons and shot both Hutchins and Souza.
The weapon was one of three prop guns that the film's rookie armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, had set up outside the set location on a gray cart, in the desert near the city of Santa Fe.
It's still unclear what was loaded into the gun at the time of the shooting, and the district attorney said authorities were focusing on ballistics to determine what was loaded into the gun, according to the Times.
The firearm was reportedly handed to Baldwin by "Rust" assistant director Dave Halls, who believed the gun was "cold," meaning he believed it contained no form of ammunition or blanks.
The investigation is also trying to determine who loaded the gun, the outlet reports.
A warrant obtained by Fox News on Tuesday revealed that authorities collected ammunition and multiple firearms from the set amid their investigation – though the inventory did not specify the type of ammunition found.
In the days since the incident, the firearm that was discharged has been referred to as a prop gun, but Carmack-Altwies took issue with the term.
"It was a legit gun," she said, though did not mention a specific kind.
People who were on the set of the film at the time of the shooting were still being interviewed by detectives, the DA said.
"It’s probably weeks, if not months, of follow-up investigation that we’re going to need to get to the point of charging," she added.
Similarly, the Sante Fe Medical Examiner & Coroner recently revealed the Hutchins autopsy could take "six to 10 weeks" or more.
Carmack-Altwies told the Times that she was unaware of reports that have circulated indicating that crew members used the weapons for leisure shooting in the hours before the incident, calling such reports "unconfirmed."
She also said that the case is among the most challenging in Santa Fe County in recent memory.
"We have complex cases all the time," she said.
"But this kind of complex case, with these kinds of prominent people, no."
It's unclear who charges would be filed against, though some think Baldwin could face charges.
"Alec Baldwin is presumably in charge because he’s the producer and has a great voice on the budget here," famed criminal defense lawyer Mark Geragos told Fox News.
"I guarantee you they’re also looking at whether or not people were shaving money or trying to cut costs and [whether] this is one of the results of that."
Geragos also mentioned he "would be shocked if there wasn’t an involuntary manslaughter charge brought in this case."
Renowned Harvard law professor and famed attorney Alan Dershowitz also said that the shooting and killing incident "likely" constitutes "homicide."