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Film crews set up their equipment Saturday before a vigil for cinematographer Halyna Hutchins at Civic Plaza in Albuquerque. More details about her death on a film set are expected to be released in a news conference Wednesday.

Maria Luisa Rossi-Hawkins, a U.S. correspondent for the Italian news agency Mediaset, arrived in Santa Fe late Tuesday — ready to cover a story that rivets readers and viewers from Rome to Roswell.

“I’m here with my crew and we usually don’t walk around or go around the country if it’s something that is not of high national profile,” said New York-based Rossi-Hawkins, who usually covers politics and key American stories for her Italian audience.

This story, of course, is not about a summit meeting or the pandemic.

But it is big. Bigger than big.

In the six days since cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed by a gun fired by actor Alec Baldwin on the set of the movie Rust, Santa Fe finds itself the backdrop to worldwide media glare unlike any it’s ever seen.

Reporters from German TV, the BBC, Fox News and outlets on both coasts and beyond are trolling the city in search of a break on the story.

They’ll likely get some new tidbits Wednesday, when officials from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office hold a news conference to talk about the case — the first time details beyond those found in initial search warrants have been discussed.

Granted, Santa Fe is no stranger to exotic visitors and the attention that comes with them. But the tragedy on the Rust set — and Baldwin’s role in it — are unprecedented.

Juan Ríos, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said there has “never been a case” in the agency’s history that has generated so much media interest. Since last Thursday’s shooting, he has received inquires from a variety of media outlets — newspapers, television, online — throughout the world, all hungering for the most recent details in the investigation.

“Part of what has changed the playbook is social media. Whether it’s TMZ or a large prominent publication, they’re looking for information that’s unique that they can post immediately, that gives them the edge or the lead,” Ríos said in an interview Tuesday.

“They’re looking for instant gratification from information and the appetite is insatiable,” he added.

The rush of reporters, Rios said, has not hindered the investigation, but he noted many stories emerging online and in print and TV are based on rumors, not fact.



Ríos said no criminal charges will be announced at the news conference, as it is too early in the investigation. There have been no arrests.

District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies also acknowledged the level of interest in the shooting is unprecedented, but she said it hasn’t affected the way people in both agencies are doing their jobs.

“We’re a united front, we’re a team and we’re assisting them [the sheriff’s office] in any way we can,” she said Tuesday, adding her office is treating the incident as it would any other case.

The case is a staple on cable news and entertainment shows. On Monday night, CNN reported on the story, citing sources by the Wrap, a digital entertainment-news outlet.

The New York Post earlier this week printed printed a photo of Baldwin and Hutchins’ husband, reportedly taken in Santa Fe by Backgrid, a celebrity news agency.

But for Mediaset’s Rossi-Hawkins, the story is about more than just Baldwin, the versatile, award-winning actor.

“Baldwin is a huge star, and he attracts attention,” she said. “But secondly, the story is about a gun being shot and that terrible, terrible accident around which there are many unanswered questions. The third point is that weapons in Italy are not as widespread as they are here in the United States.”

This last point, she said, is what makes the story particularly relevant and interesting in foreign countries. She noted movies have been filmed in Rome involving firearms, but nothing of this nature has ever happened.

She said she’ll be at Wednesday’s news conference — along with more reporters and photographers than Santa Fe’s likely ever seen in a single spot.

Carmack-Altwies and Ríos said they are girding for a media frenzy at the sheriff’s office.

And judging from the past few days, it may not end anytime soon.

“I think this is going to be interesting because it touches several aspects of not just entertainment, but it covers several aspects of American society and culture,” Rossi-Hawkins said.

(35) comments

Stephanie Cook

TV cameras are not film cameras.

Jake Jason

If nothing else, the world is going to learn whether or not New Mexico's state and local government can do a single thing honestly and competently.

Nicanor Hererra III

Wow, could the Sheriff have done any worse in this press conference? What an embarassment. And his challenger is no better. The moch is strong in this one. Public speaking courses could help... and the lauging D.A.? A woman lost her life and the D.A. thinks its appropriate to chuckle and laugh in a nationally televised press conference.

Diego Mondragon

Maybe you should do it then guy.

Richard Reinders

I think the Sheriff was on point and focused, he is limited to what he can say. I am not a fan of the DA but she also was to the point and did what was expected of her.

Khal Spencer

While everyone is hanging on this one accidental shooting, they are having to buy more cemetery land in Philadelphia due to the rise in shootings. But who cares, its just poor and minority people.

https://www.npr.org/2021/10/27/1049546358/philadelphias-increased-gun-violence-means-more-burial-services

Amid a surge in gun violence in Philadelphia, funeral directors are struggling to meet the demand for their services — including guiding families through their shock and grief.

Chris Mechels

This is a case where the Attorney General "should" take the lead. The local Sheriff and DA are bit players, who seem intent on hiding the facts. Many issues should be in play here, including the EDD financed "training" of film crews, and the failure of our state OSHA. We can't expect the Sheriff or DA to look into this systemic failure. Our AG seems contest to "sit it out", but it should be his problem, because the source of the problem runs deep in State Government.

Khal Spencer

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Dennis Enicar

This is purely a case of Hollywood living in an insular, make-believe and unaccountable world. In no other universe would a man with the intelligence of Baldwin take a firearm from another man, not check it, and then point it at a person and pull the trigger. You can be assured that, had Baldwin been required to place the barrel against his temple and squeeze the trigger, he would have checked the gun. Unnecessary tragedy...but then so was Lee, Morrow, Weinstein's many victims, etc...See a pattern?

Peter Romero

Hopefully the DA and the sheriffs department does their jobs. No room for restorative justice!!!!!! I feel for the family.

Prince Michael Jauregui

What? The grossly inept Carmack-Altwies hasn't resigned yet?

Based upon her shameful history of selective "Justice", anyone suspected of a crime on the well-paid and largely Caucasian movie-set will receive a hug and a Happy Meal.

Ah, "Restorative Justice".

Charles W Rodriguez

It's a sad tragedy what happened. Having said that, all this media attention is incredibly overdone. What's with this media need to explode every drama into reality television. I, for one, don't want to hear any more about this sordid affair. Thank you Santa Fe Sheriff for keeping the media hype to a minimum. The media isn't happy because they couldn't have 24 x 7 coverage.

Kirk Holmes

Agreed!!

I make my living off the evening news,

Just give me something

Something I can use,

People love it when you lose,

They love dirty laundry ....................

Prince Michael Jauregui

Kirk, could you please do "Boys of Summer" next? Henley's a poet, bro.

Kirk Holmes

[thumbup] Hold my beer! 🤣

Richard Reinders

The media refuses to cover national issues like abandoned Americans in Afghanistan or 1.7 million illegal entries to the US on the southern border or FBI investigating parents at school board meetings, elimination of the cash bond system, so they are starved for any news that doesn’t related to the current administration.

Diego Mondragon

Very well said Charles!! And the typical shame that we have the SF goons coming out of their toilets to bash the sheriff's department for beginning their investigation. Always the same SF New Mexican online experts, article after article.

Prince Michael Jauregui

My sincere condolences to the family, friends and associates of Halyna Hutchins, and all those afflicted by gun-violence.

Months-ago while commenting at SFNewMexican.com, I repeatedly warned of a season filled with gun-violence in "America".

Tragically, -and needlessly- another life would be lost on the movie-set of a church in Santa Fe, more chilling, immutable confirmation for words I wrote months ago: "America's bullets have come home to roost".

Jake Jason

Unlike Killer Baldwin, I am a responsible gun owner. You don't like that? Too bad, and next time you bump into your friend Alec, tell the arrogant, worthless killer to control his own gun for a change. His crime ain't my fault in the least.

Margit Pearson

why doesn't someone admit New Mexico is the place where everyone has a gun in the glove compartment or at their home...once when the police came for a incident in neighborhood, he said...do you have a dog. no. do you have a gun. no. well better get them

Emily Hartigan

Actors act.

Armorers supervise guns and ammo.

Assistant directors aren't armorers, but sometimes play one for movies.

"Gun culture" apparently led to target-shooting on and near the set, and violations of all basic safety protocols. The poor young woman who loved gun culture was out to lunch, and that killed someone.

Khal Spencer

Gun culture is supposed to inculcate safety. This was not "gun culture" as much as poor workplace safety practice.

I worked in a nuclear facility for sixteen years. If I ever tried one of those "hey buddy, hold my beer..." tricks I would have been shown the door, promptly. Plinking with a prop gun likely violated a lot of set rules. Or should have.

Emily Hartigan

Kahl, no ammo (except blanks) should be on sets, anywhere. Letting crew plink with guns that then went onto the set for use in the movie is gun culture. Every culture is fallible, but playing cowboy is peculiar to guns (and horses).

Khal Spencer

What we saw was shoddy workplace culture. I wonder, when Wild Hogs was filmed, if some of the crew took those motorcycles for a spin in between takes.

I've handled guns for about fifty five years (since I was about 12). When I was a kid, we went out back and "plinked" at the proverbial tin cans. When we were done, all the guns were unloaded, cleaned, and put away and my dad locked the gun case and put away the key. One never brought a gun back and left it lying around with rounds in it. Likewise, I am on the board of directors of LA-SC and we have strict protocols that members abide by, for the most part. No one wants to leave the range with more holes in him/her than they arrived with.

This may be workplace "cowboy and butthead culture", to quote a former LANL director, but it ain't good gun culture. Also, I wonder who let "...crew plink with guns that then went onto the set...". My hunch is this was indeed cowboy and butthead culture, but not representative of a responsible gun culture and frankly, I doubt most cowboys are this inept.

Any culture has its bad "hold my beer" elements. Actor culture. Car culture. Gun culture. Alcohol culture. Motorcycle culture. I'm still amazed that my kid brother never killed himself on his motorcycle. Choose your poison.

Khal Spencer

As far as asserting things about gun culture, I suggest some reading. Here is a start.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-020-0520-6

What is gun culture? Cultural variations and trends across the United States

Claire Boine, Michael Siegel, Craig Ross, Eric W. Fleegler & Ted Alcorn

Humanit Soc Sci Commun 7, 21 (2020)

Ted Alcorn is a New Mexican. Mike Siegel is with the BU School of Public Health.

Also, do a search on the sociology literature, starting with Prof. David Yamane of Wake Forest Univ. and Prof. Jennifer Carlson at the U of Arizona.

Jeff clark

Famous last words: “ hold my beer and watch this”. Sad that it’s not always just last said but sometimes last heard by some innocent bystander.

Emily Hartigan

Well, at least (not being facetious) Halyna had a lot of enjoyment from the horse part of it, from the videos. Rest In Peace.

Khal Spencer

I guess there is a press conference today. Let's find out who walked off with those revolvers to go shooting, who might have known, and what the chain of events was. Who gave or didn't give permission? Who knew? If the guns were lying around, why were they not re-checked immediately before handed to Alec?

Jeff Cooper Rule #1, all guns are always loaded.....

Jake Jason

I am part of "gun culture," and never have and never will come remotely close to the level of recklessness displayed by Killer Baldwin.

Emily Hartigan

Jake, the first part of your comment shows you as a credibly responsible gun-user, but the second part degenerates into irresponsible, ugly name-calling.

Jake Jason

Baldwin killed an innocent woman. He is Killer Baldwin, and should go to prison for his crime. This is America, and in America we call things and people by their real names. Killer Baldwin, a killer indeed. Don't blame me for calling him what he is; blame him for doing what he did.

Emily Hartigan

The armorer "has no idea" how the bullet got in the gun.

That was her only job.

Negligence kills.

Kyle WILSON

Actors are instructed how to safely handle firearms, if someone handed me a gun and said "it's cold" or clear...guess what I do? I check it anyway and I've had incidents where it's happened I've checked it and it had a round in the chamber

Richard Reinders

Any one that has grown up with guns has found a live round in a gun they didn't know about. Its how you handle a gun that makes it safe not whether it was loaded on not.

Jake Jason

I own 16 guns, and I have never picked up my own (let alone someone else's) without immediately clearing it, unless I was standing there and watching as it was loaded.

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