Alec Baldwin denies pulling trigger as details emerge in fatal Rust shooting

Sante Fe, New Mexico - One day after The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office released new documents that shed more light on the fatal shooting on the Rust movie set, a preview of Alec Baldwin's first interview since the accident has been revealed.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza (c.) and Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies (r.) held a news conference to discuss the ongoing investigation of the on-set shooting by actor Alec Baldwin (inset). Baldwin's first interview on the incident will air this Thursday.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza (c.) and Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies (r.) held a news conference to discuss the ongoing investigation of the on-set shooting by actor Alec Baldwin (inset). Baldwin's first interview on the incident will air this Thursday.  © Collage: Imago/ZUMA Wire

The sheriff's office released new documents late on Tuesday further investigating how live ammunition may have gotten on the set of the Alec Baldwin western Rust and then loaded into a Colt .45 single-action revolver.

On Wednesday, ABC News announced it will air a "deeply emotional" special interview with Baldwin on Thursday at 8 PM EST, which will later be streamed on Hulu.

They released a preview of the exclusive event, titled Alec Baldwin: Unscripted, which shows ABC News’ George Stephanopoulo asking the actor the burning questions on everyone's minds.

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Puzzlingly, a teary Baldwin replies: "The trigger wasn't pulled. I didn't pull the trigger."

"No, I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them, never," he adds.

The statements seem contrary to past reports of the incident, and to the new information uncovered earlier this week.

Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed told sheriff's investigators that she had trouble loading the weapon on October 21, just hours before Baldwin fired a live round that killed the film's cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured the director Joel Souza, according to an affidavit for a search warrant filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office.

"Hannah stated there was one round that wouldn't go in, so after lunch she took the cleaner, cleaned 'it' out, and put another round in, which brought the total to six rounds loaded into the weapon," Sheriff's Detective Alexandria Hancock wrote in the affidavit.

Gutierrez Reed's lawyer has said that the 24-year-old armorer didn't realize that any of the rounds were live bullets. Live ammunition is not allowed on film sets.

When asked by investigators who supplied ammunition for the guns, Gutierrez Reed identified weapons provider Seth Kenney, according to the affidavit. Another New Mexico armorer, Billy Ray, was also named in the documents as a potential source for "additional rounds" of ammunition that were used during the 12 days of filming.

On Tuesday, a judge authorized a search of Kenney's PDQ Arm & Prop LLC in Albuquerque. Among the items to be seized were documentation in relation to Rust, gun cleaning equipment, ammunition containing the Starline Brass logo "for evidence comparison" and any surveillance video from his shop, according to the affidavit.

More details emerge on the source of live ammunition

The entrance guarded by security to the Bonanza Creek Ranch, where an accident involving actor Alec Baldwin took place on October 21 that killed one crew member and injured another on the set of the movie Rust in New Mexico.
The entrance guarded by security to the Bonanza Creek Ranch, where an accident involving actor Alec Baldwin took place on October 21 that killed one crew member and injured another on the set of the movie Rust in New Mexico.  © IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Kenney told a detective on October 29 that "he may know where the live rounds came from," adding that a couple of years ago, he received "reloaded ammunition" from a friend.

He said the ammunition "stuck out to him, due to the suspected live round to have a cartridge with the Starline Brass logo on it," according to the affidavit.

Gutierrez Reed's father, Thell Reed, a noted weapons expert on Hollywood films, told a detective on November 15 that he had worked on a previous production with Kenney in August or September. He said they had provided training for the actors at a firing range, the affidavit stated.

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Thell Reed said that Kenney had requested that Reed bring live ammunition "in the event that they ran out of what was supplied," the affidavit said.

Reed said he brought an "ammo can" with live ammunition with 200 to 300 rounds, including ammunition that was not factory-made. Reed told the investigators that Kenney returned to New Mexico with the can that still contained .45-caliber Colt ammunition.

Despite Reed's attempts to get the can of ammunition back, Kenney told him to "write it off," Reed told the detective.

"Thell stated this ammunition may match the ammunition found on the set of 'Rust,'" the affidavit said.

Tuesday's search warrant — the fourth that sheriff's investigators have sought during their investigation of the shooting — was needed to search Kenney's office in Albuquerque, about 50 miles south of the Santa Fe set of Rust.

The new documents said that Kenney was present at the Bonanza Creek Ranch set on October 27 during a law enforcement search. Kenney was needed because he had the code to a gun safe in the prop truck, according to the affidavit.

Kenney was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.

A production office crew list viewed by the Los Angeles Times identifies Kenney as the film's "armorer mentor," but Kenney has told The Times that he did not fill that role and producers had erroneously classified him.

"Seth Kenney was not the 'armorer mentor' nor did he hold any other position or capacity with 'Rust,' and prior to the tragedy had never been to set or the production office," according to a statement that Kenney provided to The Times on November 19. His company, "PDQ Arm & Prop, LLC provided the guns, blanks and a portion of dummy rounds to 'Rust.' Consistent with the safe industry standards, PDQ did not provide live ammunition to 'Rust.'"

During her interviews with investigators, Gutierrez Reed said that, after lunch, she and the film's property master, Sarah Zachry, carried the guns, wrapped in bags that looked like "socks," to the set to be used that afternoon during filming.

Gutierrez Reed said that, while the guns were checked on set, "she didn't really check [the firearm] too much" because it had been locked in a safe during lunch. After she did a quick check, according to the affidavit, "she put in the last round."

The public is now anxiously awaiting Baldwin's side of the story to air on Thursday night.

"I’ve done thousands of interviews in the last 20 years at ABC," Stephanopoulos said Wednesday on Good Morning America. "This was the most intense I’ve ever experienced. So raw. As you can imagine, he’s devastated."

Cover photo: Collage: Imago/ZUMA Wire

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