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N.M. officials say Alec Baldwin an 'active part' of accidental shooting inquiry

"No one has been ruled out at this point," District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said of possible charges against Baldwin.

N.M. officials say Alec Baldwin an 'active part' of accidental shooting inquiry
Alec Baldwin was handling a prop weapon on the set of the western "Rust" nearly a week ago when the accidental shooting occurred.  File Photo by Christine Chew/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Authorities in New Mexico said in an update Wednesday that criminal charges are possible in the accidental shooting involving actor Alec Baldwin that killed a cinematographer and wounded the director of a western film during production last week.

In a news conference to present preliminary findings of the police investigation, New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said it's early in the inquiry, but director Joel Souza and director of photography Halyna Hutchins were struck by a lead projectile from a prop weapon fired by Baldwin.

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The briefing included authorities' first extensive comments since the accidental shooting, which killed Hutchins and injured Souza. Mendoza said the bullet was recovered from Souza's shoulder and will be tested to confirm that it was the projectile that killed Hutchins.

He also said two other weapons were recovered and that the one handed to Baldwin was the only functional firearm. He declined to address rumors that crew members previously used the weapon for target practice.

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Mendoza said Baldwin is cooperative as an "active part of the investigation."

"All options are on the table at this point," Carmack-Altwies said when asked if the actor could ultimately face charges.

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"No one has been ruled out at this point."

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Baldwin was handling the weapon on the set of the western Rust nearly a week ago when the accident occurred. He was practicing a scene that called for Baldwin to draw the weapon and fire it in a point-of-view angle into the camera lens.

The district attorney said the investigation's focus has been on ballistics and who loaded the bullets into the gun. According to an affidavit, an assistant director gave the prop gun to Baldwin believing it did not contain any live rounds.

The Wrap reported on Monday that some crew members had taken the prop guns for live-ammunition target practice earlier in the day and one of the weapons ended up on the set.

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On Tuesday, an electrician who'd been working on the film posted to Facebook what he said was the final photo of Baldwin, Hutchins and Souza rehearsing for the scene before the accident.

The photo shows Baldwin in costume in front of the camera and Hutchins and Souza behind the camera.

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