Alec Baldwin May Not Be Off the Hook in 'Rust' Movie Shooting Death

Rust Movie Set Shooting Alec Baldwin Investigation
The investigation into the fatal shooting on the set of "Rust" last year "remains open and ongoing," the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office said on Monday. Actor and producer Alec Baldwin is pictured attending opening night of the Broadway play "Hangman" in New York City on April 21, 2022. Bruce Glikas/WireImage/Getty

A police investigation into the fatal shooting on the New Mexico set of the movie Rust last year has not been completed, with actor Alec Baldwin and others still facing the possibility of criminal charges.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office said on Monday that it had yet to receive evidence critical to the investigation, including data that police in New York had taken from Baldwin's cell phone. In the statement obtained by Newsweek, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said that the evidence needed to be analyzed before any decisions on potential charges could be made by prosecutors.

"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 Sheriff's investigators," Mendoza said.

"Once these investigative components are provided to the sheriff's office, we will be able to complete the investigation to forward it to the Santa Fe district attorney for review," he added.

Last week, New Mexico's Environment Department's Occupational Health and Safety Bureau (OHSB) released a report that found the film's production company had "demonstrated plain indifference to the hazards associated with firearms" and could have "prevented the accident from occurring" if it had acted properly.

The shooting killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza. Baldwin was holding the gun that fired but has maintained that he did not pull the trigger and that the weapon misfired.

Baldwin's attorney Luke Nikas maintained last week that the OHSB report "exonerates" his client, who acted as a producer in addition to being the star of the film.

"We are grateful to the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau for investigating this matter," Nikas said in a statement. "We appreciate that the report exonerates Mr. Baldwin by making clear that he believed the gun held only dummy rounds ... the report recognizes that Mr. Baldwin's authority on the production was limited to approving script changes and creative casting."

In a statement to Newsweek on Monday, Nikas said that Baldwin "welcomes" the continuing investigation, while stressing that "Mr. Baldwin acted responsibly and did not have control over any production issues that were identified in the OSHA report."

The attorney for Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was tasked with overseeing weapons and training during part of the production, has also claimed that the OHSB exonerates her because she "was not provided adequate time or resources to conduct her job effectively," according to the Associated Press.

Multiple lawsuits related to the fatal shooting have been filed against Baldwin and others involved in the production. A document filed in arbitration last month claimed that Baldwin was not financially liable for the incident due to a clause in his contract with the film's production company.

The sheriff's office also released several pieces of evidence that were already part of the investigation on Monday, including video footage of Baldwin and others being interviewed by investigators shortly after the fatal shooting, photos taken from the set and documents.

Nikas said that the information released continued "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."

Update 4/25, 9:52 p.m. EST: This article has been updated to include a statement from Luke Nikas, attorney for Alec Baldwin.