By Lucy Kafanov, Julia Jones, Alexandra Meeks and Fernando Alfonso, CNN
Updated: Fri, 03 Dec 2021 23:30:32 GMT
In an interview with ABC that aired Thursday, Alec Baldwin shed light on what happened in the moments prior to the fatal shooting on the set of the film "Rust" that claimed the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
The actor explained to ABC's George Stephanopoulos that the scene being rehearsed in the church at Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico was going to show him cocking the gun, and he and Hutchins were going over how she wanted to position his hand.
"And I cock the gun, I go, "Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?" and she says ... and then I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun goes off. I let go of the hammer of the gun, the gun goes off," Baldwin recalled.
He said he was aiming the gun just off to the side of the camera, as Hutchins was instructing him to, in her direction.
"I'm holding the gun where she told me to hold it, which ended up being aimed right below her armpit, was what I was told," Baldwin said.
When asked why he pointed the gun at Hutchins and pulled the trigger when that wasn't in the script, Baldwin said, "I would never point a gun at anyone and then pull the trigger, never."
Throughout the hourlong sit-down interview -- his first since the October 21 shooting -- Baldwin stressed multiple times he wants answers to how a live round ended up on set.
"The gun was supposed to be empty; I was told I was handed an empty gun," Baldwin said. "There's only one question to be resolved ... only one. And that is, where did the live round come from?"
"Someone put a live bullet in the gun, a bullet that wasn't even supposed to be there. Where did that bullet come from? Somebody brought love rounds -- plural -- onto the set of the film and one bullet ended up in the gun," Baldwin said.
I think back and I think, 'What could I have done?'
An emotional Baldwin visibly fought back tears when talking about Hutchins.
"She was someone who was loved by everyone who worked with her, liked by everyone who worked with her -- and admired," Baldwin said.
Hutchins is survived by her husband, Matthew Hutchins, and their young son.
"I didn't know what to say," Baldwin recalled of meeting with Hutchins' husband after her death. "He hugged me and he goes, 'I suppose we're going to go through this together.'"
Baldwin added: "I told him, 'I don't know what to say, I don't know how to convey to you how sorry I am and willing to do anything I can to cooperate.'"
When asked by Stephanopoulos if the shooting was the worst thing that had ever happened to him, Baldwin said yes, "because I think back and I think, what could I have done?"
Baldwin also said he can't imagine doing a film with a gun in it again, adding, "I would do anything in power to undo what was done. I don't know how that bullet arrived in that gun. I don't know. But I am all for doing anything that will take us to a place where we're ... this is less likely to happen."
Authorities eyeing late winter for potential charging decisions
Authorities investigating the shooting are eyeing the late winter for any potential charging decisions as they work through a long list of witnesses and an increasingly complex chain of evidence, two people briefed on the investigation told CNN.
In the past week alone, key investigative steps, including witness interviews and a high-profile search executed late Tuesday, made clear the probe is still in an active fact-finding phase.
The two sources pointed toward February as a potential goal for local prosecutors to decide on whether any criminal charges should be filed. One of the sources said the decision could come as early as next month.
In a statement to CNN Friday, Mary Carmack-Altwies, the district attorney serving Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the movie was being filmed, said any potential charges won't be coming soon.
"We don't have an exact timetable, but charges are not likely to be imminent," Carmack-Altwies said.
She elaborated in a second statement released widely Friday: "My office is exploring various legal theories at the time. Everyone involved in the handling and use of firearms on the set had a duty to behave in a manner such that the safety of others was protected, and it appears that certain actions and inactions contributed to this outcome."
"Once I have had the opportunity to review the complete investigation, certain individuals may be criminally culpable for his/her actions and/or inactions on the set of Rust," she said.
A spokesman for the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office told CNN Thursday that detectives had not yet handed over a final investigative report to prosecutors and did not have a set time frame under which they would do that.