Sheriff's office releases investigation into fatal 'Rust' shooting, including texts from Alec Baldwin

The report was handed over to the local district attorney last month.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office has released its report into the fatal shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin's film "Rust," which reveals text messages the actor sent in the days and weeks after the incident.

The 550-page report follows a yearlong investigation into the shooting on the New Mexico set of the Western. The film's cinematographer, 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins, was killed by Baldwin, who was pointing a Colt .45 revolver at her when it fired. Director Joel Souza was also injured.

Among the findings are text messages from Baldwin's phone, which was turned over to investigators in January after a search warrant for the device was issued.

PHOTO: This image from the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office released April 25, 2022, and part of the investigative files, shows a prop cart by the shooting at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., after the death of Halyna Hutchins on Oct. 21, 2022.
This handout image courtesy of Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office released April 25, 2022, and part of the investigative files, shows a prop cart by the scene of the shooting at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., after the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on Oct. 21, 2022.
Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office/AFP via Getty Images

Two days after the shooting, Baldwin started messaging Matt Hutchins, the husband of Halyna Hutchins, sending sporadic texts over the next few weeks, according to the report. On Dec. 2, Baldwin message that both he and Halyna Hutchins "believed the gun was empty," according to the report.

On Dec. 10, Baldwin messaged him about a potential "sabotage angle," the report stated.

"Important for you to keep in mind: The Santa Fe Sheriff's office may lack both the skill and the will to properly investigate the sabotage angle," Baldwin messaged him, according to the report. "I'm told their agenda is to write off as an accident and throw it to the civil courts. And yet, the more that is presented to me about certain anomalies on that day, the more open minded I become. I dismiss the sabotage claim initially. But not know. I hope these NM have the sense to follow it through."

When Matt Hutchins asked who told him about this "agenda," Baldwin advised that multiple attorneys told him, according to the report.

Baldwin started a text chain with an investigator in the case on Nov. 8, 2021, asking if the film's armorer or assistant director ever instructed anyone to self-inspect the weapons, saying he was never instructed to perform self-checks, according to the report. Two days later, he asked if there was a possibility he will be charged, according to the report.

Baldwin has previously said he doesn't believe he will face any criminal charges in the accident.

"I've been told by people who are in the know, in terms of even inside the state, that it's highly unlikely that I would be charged with anything criminally," he told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos in an interview late last year.

Actor Alec Baldwin talks to ABC News' Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in his first interview since the deadly shooting on the set of the film, "Rust."
ABC News

Two days after the shooting, Baldwin also messaged his assistant and advised, "I have to delete my archive," according to the report, which noted, "There is no further details on the meaning of this message."

Baldwin was "referring to his Twitter archive, which he has long considered deleting," according to his attorney, Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel.

Baldwin "fully cooperated with the investigation and turned over his phone with all records, including all records from the day of the incident, to the Suffolk County Police," Nikas said in a statement to ABC News.

After reviewing the records, police then "turned them over directly to the Santa Fe County Sheriff, unless the records reflected privileged communications or were irrelevant to the Rust movie," Nikas said. "He fully preserved all records related to Rust and turned them over to the authorities nearly a year ago."

The report's release comes three weeks after the sheriff's office turned it over to the local district attorney, who will decide whether to press criminal charges against anyone involved in the shooting.

The district attorney's office said at the time that it will conduct a "thorough review of the information and evidence to make a thoughtful, timely decision about whether to bring charges."

Charges have yet to be announced.

In the weeks and months following the October 2021 shooting, questions have persisted as to how live ammunition made it onto the New Mexico set and into the prop gun and whether proper safety precautions were taken by crew members.

Several lawsuits have been filed in connection with the incident, most recently by Baldwin. In a lawsuit filed last week, the actor alleged negligence of several of the film's crew members while seeking to "clear his name."

Baldwin's cross-complaint followed a lawsuit filed last year by the film's script supervisor, Mamie Mitchell. The civil suit accused Baldwin of "playing Russian roulette" with the revolver.

An image of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who died after being shot by Alec Baldwin on the set of his movie "Rust", is displayed at a vigil in her honor in Albuquerque, N.M., Oct. 23, 2021.
Kevin Mohatt/Reuters, FILE

Last month, the family of Hutchins reached a settlement in its wrongful death lawsuit against the producers of the film, including Baldwin. In a statement about the agreement, it was announced Hutchins' husband will take over as executive producer and the film will restart production next year with Baldwin and Souza still attached.

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