On Oct. 21, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died due to gun wounds as actor Alec Baldwin had been rehearsing with a firearm and was told the gun was not loaded with ammunition.

The upcoming movie had been filming in Santa Fe, New Mexico and according to law enforcement, Hutchins had died around 1:50 p.m., after a helicopter had taken her.

Director Joel Souza, had suffered from shoulder injuries and was rushed to the hospital yet survived.

According to an affidavit signed by Santa Fe County Detective Joel Cano, “Cold Gun!” was yelled by an assistant director, meaning that the firearm didn’t consist of live rounds. The assistant director also grabbed one of the three prop guns laid out on a cart and then proceeded to hand it to Baldwin right before shooting.

According to the affidavit from the assistant director, Dave Halls, he stated, “did not know live rounds were in the prop-gun,” after it was handed over, which was a piece of evidence that was apart of the search warrant application.

Halls had been fired from a set in 2019 during the filming of, ‘Freedom’s Path,’ after a firearm had “unexpectedly discharged” that had resulted in a sound crew member having to go to the hospital to receive medical treatment.

After the investigation started, the detectives of the Santa Fe Sheriff Department added into the inventory list of a fanny pack that had as well as two ammo boxes and loose ammo from a tray according to a court document.

In the midst of the investigation Santa Fe district attorney, Mary Carmack-Altwies, stated that it was being focused on the ballistics perspective and who loaded the ammunition. She stated in a press conference on Oct. 27, “If the facts in evidence and law support charges, then I will initiate prosecution at that time. I’m a prosecutor that was elected in part because I do not make rash decisions and I do not rush to judgment.”

Shortly after in the same press conference Santa Fe County Sheriff, Adan Mendoza stated that they were suspecting other live rounds had been on set and tried to determine how the gun could have been in the hands of a crew member with live rounds inside. He also added towards the end of the conference that there is one live round found so far and they’re trying to determine how that one and possibly others were on set.

500 rounds of ammunition consisted a mix of blanks, dummy rounds, and suspected live rounds according to Mendoza. The investigation showed that from the firearms from the set, one was not functioning and the other was plastic. The projectile from Souza’s shoulder was going to be tested in a lab by the FBI to determine if it was fired by an actual firearm.

Lead armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s name was dropped on CNN by two of the crew members stating that she mishandled weapons in a previous film, ‘The Old Way.’ One notable incident was that she had fired a gun near actor Nicholas Cage without giving him a warning, causing him to yell and storm off set. An unnamed person who was a crew member of the film confessed their concern for her to CNN and had said, “She never announced to anyone that she was walking on the set carrying firearms loaded with blanks with her.”

The Santa Fe County Sheriff Department has interviewed Baldwin numerous times and the department’s public information officer stated that this investigation was a “shooting investigation” and not a “homicidal investigation.”

By Bren McDonald

Bren McDonald is a senior at Timber Creek High School. She is the Publishing Managing Editor, producer and host of the Armchair Detective's podcast, and a member of The Creek Yearbook staff.