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Alec Baldwin shooting: ‘Concerning’ texts found in Rust investigation, says sheriff

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olice leading the investigation into the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust have said “concerning” text messages have been uncovered in the investigation.

Hutchins was killed on the set of the movie in October last year after a prop gun Baldwin was holding went off.

Now Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza has said the messages discussed the possible use of live ammunition on a different movie set a few months before the start of production of Rust.

His department recently released its files relating to the ongoing investigation into the tragic incident.

The files included video of Baldwin practising with a revolver, reportedly on the same day as the incident, and the actor’s interviews with officers afterwards.

Speaking to NBC’s Today show, Sheriff Mendoza said: “There was complacency on the set, there was disorganisation and a degree of negligence, whether that rises to a criminal level that’ll be up to the district attorney.”

Halyna Hutchins

/ Getty Images for SAGindie

Asked how live rounds had come to be used, he said: “That was one of the key things we were looking into but as of right now no one has come forward and admitted to bringing the live rounds onto the movie set.

“There was information on text messages that was concerning based on the fact that live ammo was spoken about and possibly used on a prior movie set.

“That was just a few months ago before the Rust movie production began so that is concerning.”

Sheriff Mendoza said that it was “too early to rule anything out” at this stage of the investigation.

The Sheriff added: “I don’t think anybody’s off the hook when it comes to criminal charges.”

Rust’s director Joel Souza was also wounded in the shooting on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set near Santa Fe.

Footage released by sheriff’s department

/ PA

Footage released by police showed Souza speaking to officers in the hospital about the incident and asking about Hutchins’ wellbeing.

Souza said he heard “a very loud bang” and described the feeling of “being kicked in the shoulder”.

“I was down on my a** and I look over and see the cinematographer Halyna Hutchins with blood coming out of her back,” he says.

The police probe comes after a report into the shooting found the film’s production company “knew that firearm safety procedures were not being followed on set”.

Rust Movie Productions was fined 136,793 US dollars (£104,810), the maximum allowable by state law in New Mexico, following a six-month investigation by the state’s environment department.

Baldwin, 64, continues to fight a number of lawsuits stemming from the incident.

Cases are being brought by script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, head of lighting Serge Svetnoy and Hutchins’ family.

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