Baldwin affair: where is the investigation?

the essential On 000 last October, the American actor accidentally killed Halyna Hutchins, a director of photography on filming a western in Santa Fe, New Mexico. More than a week later, where is the business? La Dépêche du Midi takes stock.

On Thursday 21, the American actor Alec Baldwin shot fatally, by accident, on the director of photography of the western he was shooting, The Rust, in the US state of New Mexico. He also hurt the director of the film. Friday 29 October, more than a week after the tragedy, the gunsmith claimed that she had never been aware of the presence of “live bullets “on the set.

So whose fault is it?

According to the first investigation reports, the young woman told the police that she had secured the weapons well during the lunch break preceding the accident. But the ammunition remained on an accessory cart near the plateau.

Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who only had one feature film under her belt before “Rust”, says she was “hired to fill two positions on that film, which made it very difficult for her to focus on her work in as a gunsmith “. Requests made to production to have more time to prepare weapons and shooting scenes were, according to her, rejected.

Alec Baldwin activated during a rehearsal a revolver which had been presented to him as a “cold weapon”, that is to say, unloaded and harmless, by an assistant director. The latter admitted to investigators that he should have ensured the absence of live ammunition in the barrel but had not carried out all the necessary checks.

Laxity on the set

“The whole shoot became dangerous due to a number of factors including the lack of security meetings. It was not Hannah’s fault,” Hannah Gutierrez Reed’s attorneys said.

Members of the film crew quoted by US media had complained about lax safety on the set before the accident, notably citing other unwanted firearms firing.

The specialized site The Wrap even claimed, citing sources close to the shooting, that some members of the film crew had used the revolver in question to fire live ammunition at beer cans just hours before the accident.

Seizure of 500 cartridges

The searches carried out on the set resulted in the seizure of 500 cartridges, dummy or blank, among which also appear to be live ammunition, said the county sheriff. from Santa Fe, Adan Mendoza, who is overseeing the investigation. However, live bullets are totally prohibited on a shoot by the very strict rules in force in the film industry, precisely to prevent this kind of accident.

Indeed, on a film, the gunsmith is responsible for the weapons used during the various shots and must constantly ensure that they do not present a danger to the team. Firearms are supposed to be kept locked up when not in use.

Criminal proceedings against Baldwin

At a press conference, prosecutor Mary Carmack-Altwies did not rule out possible criminal proceedings against Alec Baldwin. But she insisted that it was too early to establish the responsibilities of each and to formulate the accusations which could result from it. No arrests have taken place at this stage and investigations are continuing.

Some film professionals are campaigning for a ban on firearms on sets, arguing that special visual and sound effects can be added to dummy weapons to make the scenes look believable.

Since this tragedy, calls to ban firearms on sets have multiplied. A petition in this direction had gathered nearly 80 signatures, this Friday 29 October.

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