Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said in a press conference held today that he suspects “there were other live rounds that were found” on the Rust set.
“I won’t comment further on how they got there. This investigation is active, so I won’t comment on how they got there, but we suspect that they are there. That will be determined when testing is done by the crime lab in reference to whether or not they are officially live rounds or not,” Mendoza said during a press conference, per CNN.
He also said authorities are interviewing “the people that inspected or handled the firearm when it was loaded before it got to [Alec Baldwin].”
Mendoza confirmed that around 500 rounds of ammunition were found on set, and that the evidence will be handed to the FBI. Forbes reports that those findings include “a mix of suspected live rounds, blanks, and dummy bullets, and three firearms: the working gun discharged by Baldwin—which they found other rounds in—a real gun modified so that it was non-functioning and a plastic gun that does not shoot.”
Mendoza also said that the bullet recovered from director Joel Souza’s shoulder is believed to be the same bullet that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and is a “lead projectile.” The police are in possession of the bullet and its shell, both were obtained as evidence.
According to the search warrant affidavit filed last week, the film’s armorer Hannah Reed Gutierrez and the assistant director Dave Halls inspected and handled the prop gun before it was handed to Alec Baldwin. The sheriff confirmed that all three of them have been cooperating with the investigation.
The Wrap also reports that the prop gun that killed Hutchins was allegedly used for live-ammunition target practice on set by some of the crew members, hours before the fatal accident. However, that information comes from a source with knowledge of the production and not from the press conference.
These updates come after reports of the Rust set being an unsafe work environment before Hutchins’ death. Seven of Rust’s camera crew members walked off set in protest of these allegedly unsafe working conditions—conditions that reportedly included two prop gun misfires. Production on the film is currently paused.
UPDATE 10/27 1:53 p.m. CT: In a new affidavit search warrant obtained by Variety, it’s mentioned Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed told investigators that there was no live ammunition on set.
According to the affidavit, assistant director David Halls “advised when Hannah showed him the firearm before continuing rehearsal, he could only remember seeing three rounds. He advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t recall if she spun the drum.” When asked in the investigation about the use of live ammo, Gutierrez Reed responded saying that “no live-ammo is ever kept on set.”