Three black revolvers. Fourteen swabs of suspected blood. At least six boxes of “ammo.” And nine “spent casing(s).”
Those are among the items Santa Fe County Sheriff’s investigators collected from the scene at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, where last week actor and producer Alec Baldwin fired at least one shot from gun being used as a prop, killing 42-year-old cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza, 48, on the rehearsal set of Baldwin’s new 1880s Western, Rust.
The inventory of items picked up in and around the movie-set church comes from a search warrant return obtained by SFR on Monday from Santa Fe County Magistrate Court.
And while it adds some additional context to what appears to be an ongoing investigation, the document does not answer a fundamental question: What, exactly, was in the weapon Baldwin fired last Thursday?
Previous court documents filed by sheriff’s investigators suggest it was a “live round,” though reporting in the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere shows that’s a term sometimes used in the film industry to describe a range of things, from blanks to bullets.
Sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios told SFR in an email on Friday that “investigators will attempt to determine what type of projectile was in the firearm that was discharged.”
Rios had not responded to follow-up questions for this story by publication time. Sheriff Adan Mendoza and District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies plan to hold a joint news conference Wednesday morning.
Investigators have a “projectile” they recovered from Souza’s shoulder and a shell casing, a source close to the investigation tells SFR. But they won’t be able to precisely identify the round until ballistics and forensics analyses have been completed. Local officials have asked the FBI to conduct those reviews.
The search warrant return lists “1 spent casing” nine separate times. It also says detectives took two “ammo” boxes from an unidentified location at the scene and another four boxes plus “loose ammo and boxes” from the “bottom tray”—presumably from the rolling cart from which, according to court records, assistant director Dave Halls pulled a “prop gun” and handed it to Baldwin.
Halls could not be reached for comment.(SFR did not name Halls in its Friday story on the shooting. Since that time, several other media outlets identified him after a 2019 complaint surfaced naming Halls.)
Other items retrieved from the scene included clothing, leather belts, a hard drive with a cable and photographs, according to the search warrant return.
Sheriff’s investigators filed their first search warrant affidavit Friday morning, then submitted an updated version, in which Det. Joel Cano asks Santa Fe Magistrate Judge John Rysanek to grant permission for the search.
Rysanek signed off on the warrants, meaning the judge believes there’s probable cause that someone may have committed a crime.
No one has been charged or even accused, as of publication time. But the updated affidavit provides new details, including a summary of Cano’s interview with Souza.
The director and another witness told Cano the day of the shooting began with Rust’s camera crew walking off the film over disagreements about their pay and housing.
Still, witnesses told Cano, the vibe on the set was congenial and everyone was getting along as the cast and crew prepared to rehearse a scene in which Baldwin drew out a pistol and pointed it toward a camera, according to one of the affidavits.
“Cold gun,” Halls shouted as he handed the weapon to Baldwin, the affidavit says, meaning it was not loaded with live ammunition.
Halls told Cano that no film was being recorded at the time of the shooting, according to the affidavit.
The assistant director also said that Halls and at least one other person handled weapons on the set of Rust prior to them being handed to actors. “Joel stated there should never be live rounds, whatsoever, near or around the scene,” Cano wrote in his affidavit.
The Los Angeles Times published a story citing a letter from the production company to the crew indicating that filming had been paused. But the New Mexico Film Office refused to confirm or deny that report in response to questions from SFR. The production company has not responded to a request for comment.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to offer explanation of why SFR named Dave Halls.