NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 09: Alec Baldwin speaks during the 2021 RFK Ripple Of Hope Gala at New York Hilton Midtown on December 09, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Baldwin denies pulling trigger on 'Rust' set in first interview with CNN
03:05 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Alec Baldwin says he doesn’t believe he or anyone else will face criminal charges in the fatal shooting last year on the “Rust” movie set – a tragic episode he says “has taken years off” his life and has cost him professionally.

Prosecutors awaiting the investigative report from the Santa Fe Sheriff’s office will weigh evidence in the October 21, 2021 shooting on the film’s Old West set outside Santa Fe, New Mexico to determine whether to pursue charges. Baldwin and crew members were rehearsing a scene in a rustic church when a prop gun in the actor’s hand discharged, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.

Investigations into the tragedy have focused on how a live round of ammunition ended up on a movie set.

In his interview with CNN, Baldwin placed responsibility for the tragedy on Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who served as the armorer and props assistant on the film, and assistant director Dave Halls, who handed him the gun. Through their respective attorneys, both Gutierrez Reed and Halls accused Baldwin of deflecting blame onto others.

“Someone put a live bullet in the gun who should have known better,” Baldwin said. “That was [Gutierrez Reed’s] job. Her job was to look at the ammunition and put in the dummy round or the blank round, and there wasn’t supposed to be any live rounds on the set.

“There are two people who didn’t do what they were supposed to do,” he added. “I’m not sitting there saying I want them to, you know, go to prison, or I want their lives to be hell. I don’t want that, but I want everybody to know that those are the two people that are responsible for what happened.”

According to an administrative complaint filed this month by the New Mexico environment department’s occupational health and safety bureau against the production company, Gutierrez Reed told Halls to alert her when Baldwin arrived, so she could perform a safety check on his firearm. The complaint goes on to say that the armorer left the church “expecting Mr. Halls to notify her when Mr. Baldwin arrived.” Instead, the complaint says, Halls handed the revolver directly to Baldwin.

“Why didn’t [Gutierrez Reed] check that bullet? Why didn’t Halls obey her?” Baldwin continued. “Why did he give me the gun? Why didn’t he check? Why did he tell the crew [it was a cold gun]?”

Baldwin also wondered aloud whether Seth Kenney, the movie’s props supplier, accidentally provided live bullets to the “Rust” set. An FBI report released last week showed investigators examined dozens of cartridges, including from the set and from a separate location in Albuquerque. Most of those consistent with live cartridges were not found on the set.

In January, Gutierrez Reed sued the movie’s gun and ammunition supplier, accusing PDQ Arm and Prop, LLC. and its founder Seth Kenney of violation of trade practices, false and deceptive product labels, and false and material misrepresentations. In the suit, Gutierrez Reed alleges Kenney sold her a cache of dummy ammunition with live rounds mixed in.

Kenney’s attorneys filed an answer last month, denying any allegations and asking the court to dismiss the case.

“We agree with Mr. Baldwin and believe that Seth Kenney as primary ammunition supplier commingled live rounds with blank rounds in the ammunition provided to Rust,” Jason Bowles, attorney for Gutierrez Reed said in a statement to CNN. “We have again asked that the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office and FBI test the live rounds for fingerprints and DNA to confirm where the live rounds came from. To date they have not done so on this vital question, which must be answered to uncover the full truth of what happened.”

The set of "Rust" at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., in October.

CNN has reached out to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office for comment.

“We disagree with Mr. Baldwin’s attempts to deflect blame onto others. It is not for him to decide or to apportion blame,” Bowles added.