Filming of Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ has been ruled an accident by the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator after the completion of an autopsy of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and review of reports of law enforcement on the deadly October incident.
The medical investigator’s report was released Monday by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office in addition to FBI records collected on the gun and ammunition used on set after the shooting. It’s unclear whether Baldwin will still face criminal charges, with his lawyers calling the shooting a “tragic accident”.
“The critical report is that of the medical examiner, who concluded that it was a tragic accident. This is the third time that authorities in New Mexico have found that Alec Baldwin had no authority or knowledge allegedly unsafe conditions on set, that the person in charge of on-set security told her the weapon was ‘cold’ and that she believed it was safe,” Baldwin’s attorney said. , Luke Nikas, at Fox News Digital.
A live ammunition killed cinematographer Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza during a rehearsal on October 21, 2021. Filming for Western “Rust” took place at a ranch on the outskirts of the city of Santa Fe, where they had filmed inside a small church.
“The FBI report is being misinterpreted,” Nikas added. “The weapon fired only once in testing – without having to pull the trigger – when the hammer was pulled back and the weapon broke in two different places. The FBI was unable to fire the weapon in an earlier test, even when pulling the trigger, because it was in such poor condition.”
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A representative for “Rust” gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez Reed told Fox News Digital: “Recently released FBI reports show the gun was in good working order and Baldwin must have pulled the trigger to fire the gun, directly contradicting his prior statements and those of Deputy Director Halls, through his attorney, who also said Baldwin did not pull the trigger.”
“The new complaint from the New Mexico Department of the Environment (OSHA) highlights serious production failures on the set of Rust that would have prevented this tragic filming.”
Baldwin had told investigators that when the gun went off he was initially unaware Hutchins would die and was shocked to learn he was holding a gun loaded with live ammunition. Baldwin, who was also the film’s producer, said the gun should have been empty for a rehearsal without shooting.
“These new documents demonstrate the attempts of various production members from the very beginning to shirk responsibility and scapegoat Hannah, a 24-year-old gunsmith, for this tragedy,” the statement continued. “Hannah was tasked with doing two jobs, including that of props assistant and the very important job of gunsmith, but she was not given enough time and days of training to do so despite repeated requests. or the required respect for the armourer’s position and responsibilities.
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“This included Baldwin in particular, who ignored Hannah’s requests to undergo specific cross-draw training, which would include never having your finger on the trigger during the cross-draw and never pointing the gun at anyone. It also bears repeating that Hannah specifically asked to be called back into the Church if Baldwin was going to handle or use a firearm so that she could perform her gunsmith inspection and safety duties. before the fatal shooting, which would also have avoided this terrible tragedy.”
Prosecutors have yet to decide whether charges will be brought in the case and are still awaiting Baldwin’s cellphone for review as of Aug. 3, according to District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.
Baldwin said in a December interview with ABC News that he was pointing the gun at Hutchins on his instructions on the set of the Western movie “Rust” when it went off after cocking him. He said he didn’t pull the trigger.
“I’m hopeful that when the facts come to light we won’t be held criminally responsible, but it has changed my life. And I don’t mean that in the ordinary sense that I was involved in something or that someone died,” Baldwin said. during an interview at Boulder International Film Festival in March. “I mean, I was involved in a situation where someone was killed. It changed my life just in terms of the function of weapons in movies and TV.”
An FBI analysis of the revolver Baldwin had in his hand during the rehearsal suggested that it was in working order at the time and would not have discharged unless fully cocked and the trigger was pulled.
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With the hammer in the fully cocked position, the FBI report stated that the weapon could not fire without pulling the trigger as long as the working internals were intact and functional.
During FBI testing of the weapon, authorities said, parts of the trigger and cylinder stop fractured as the hammer was struck. This allowed the hammer to fall and the firing pin to detonate the primer.
“This was the only successful discharge during these tests and was attributed to fracture of internal components, not failure of the firearm or safety mechanisms,” the report said.
The FBI report does not specify how many times the hammer of the revolver may have been struck during testing.
Among the ammunition seized at the shooting site were live ammunition found on a cart and in the case that was in the building where the shooting occurred. Blank and dummy cartridges were also found.
The New Mexico Office of Occupational Health and Safety, in a scathing report released in April, detailed a story of safety failures in violation of standard industry protocols, including testimony that officials production took limited or no action to address two misfires on set before the fatal shooting.
The bureau also documented gun safety complaints from crew members that went unheeded and said weapons specialists were not authorized to make decisions about additional safety training.
In concluding that the shooting was an accident, the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator noted “no obvious intent to injure or kill” and said there was “no evidence convincing” that the revolver had been intentionally loaded with live ammunition. on the tray.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.