Alec Baldwin may still face criminal charges through district attorney’s office
Alec Baldwin (pictured two weeks before the incident) is fighting back against the FBI report from fatal “Rust” set shooting. The Santa Fe medical investigator deemed the incident an accident Monday. (Mark Sagliocco)
Alec Baldwin‘s “Rust” set shooting was ruled an accident by New Mexico’s Office of the Medical Investigator after the completion of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’ autopsy and review of law enforcement reports from the fatal incident in October.
The medical investigator’s report was made public Monday by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office in addition to FBI records collected from the weapon and ammunition used on the set following the shooting. It’s unclear if Baldwin will still face any criminal charges, with his lawyers calling the shooting a “tragic accident.”
“The critical report is the one from the medical examiner, who concluded that this was a tragic accident. This is the third time the New Mexico authorities have found that Alec Baldwin had no authority or knowledge of the allegedly unsafe conditions on the set, that he was told by the person in charge of safety on the set that the gun was ‘cold,’ and believed the gun was safe,” Baldwin attorney Luke Nikas told Fox News Digital.
A live round of ammunition killed cinematographer Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza during rehearsal on Oct. 21, 2021. Filming for the Western “Rust” took place at a ranch on the outskirts of the city of Santa Fe, where they had been filming inside a small church.
“The FBI report is being misconstrued,” Nikas added. “The gun fired in testing only one time — without having to pull the trigger — when the hammer was pulled back and the gun broke in two different places. The FBI was unable to fire the gun in any prior test, even when pulling the trigger, because it was in such poor condition.”
A representative for “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed told Fox News Digital: “The newly released FBI reports show the revolver was in good working order and that Baldwin had to have pulled the trigger to fire the revolver, directly contradicting his prior statements and those of Assistant Director Halls, through his attorney, who also said Baldwin didn’t pull the trigger.”
“The New Mexico Environmental Department’s (OSHA) new complaint highlights serious failures by Production on the Rust set which would have prevented this tragic shooting.”
Baldwin had told investigators that as the gun went off, he was unaware initially that Hutchins would die and was shocked to learn that he had been holding a gun loaded with live ammunition. Baldwin, who also was a producer on the film, had said the gun should have been empty for a rehearsal with no filming.
“These new filings demonstrate various production members’ attempts from the very beginning to shirk responsibility and scapegoat Hannah, a 24-year-old armorer, for this tragedy,” the statement continued. “Hannah was tasked with doing two jobs including props assistant and the very important job as armorer but not given adequate time and training days to do so despite repeated requests or the respect required of the armorer’s position and responsibilities.
“This included Baldwin in particular who ignored Hannah’s requests to do specific cross draw training which would include never having his finger on the trigger during the cross draw and never pointing the weapon at anyone. It also bears repeating that Hannah specifically asked to be called back into the Church if Baldwin was going to handle or operate a firearm so she could perform her armorer inspection and safety duties. Yet, neither Baldwin nor Halls nor anyone else in production called Hannah into the Church to perform her armorer duties and complete a final safety check before the fatal shooting, which also would have prevented this terrible tragedy.”
Prosecutors have not yet decided if any charges will be filed 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 at her instruction on the set of the Western film “Rust” when it went off after he cocked it. He said he did not pull the trigger.
“I’m very hopeful when the facts come out we will not be held criminally responsible, but it has changed my life. And I don’t mean this in the ordinary sense that I was involved in something or somebody passed,” Baldwin said during an interview at the Boulder International Film Festival in March. “I mean, I was involved in a situation with somebody was killed. It’s changed my life just in terms of the function of weapons in films and television.”
An FBI analysis of the revolver that Baldwin had in his hand during the rehearsal suggested it was in working order at the time and would not have discharged unless it was fully cocked and the trigger was pulled.
With the hammer in full cock position, the FBI report stated the gun could not be made to fire without pulling the trigger while the working internal components were intact and functional.
During the testing of the gun by the FBI, authorities said, portions of the gun’s trigger sear and cylinder stop fractured while the hammer was struck. That allowed the hammer to fall and the firing pin to detonate the primer.
“This was the only successful discharge during this testing and it was attributed to the fracture of internal components, not the failure of the firearm or safety mechanisms,” the report stated.
It was unclear from the FBI report how many times the revolver’s hammer may have been struck during the testing.
Among the ammunition seized from the film location were live rounds found on a cart and in the holster that was in the building where the shooting happened. Blank and dummy cartridges also were found.
New Mexico’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau in a scathing report issued in April detailed a narrative of safety failures in violation of standard industry protocols, including testimony that production managers took limited or no action to address two misfires on-set prior to the fatal shooting.
The bureau also documented gun safety complaints from crew members that went unheeded and said weapons specialists were not allowed to make decisions about additional safety training.
In reaching its conclusion that the shooting was an accident, New Mexico’s medical investigator’s office pointed to “the absence of obvious intent to cause harm or death” and stated that there was said “no compelling demonstration” that the revolver was intentionally loaded with live ammunition on the set.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Tracy Wright is an entertainment writer for Fox News Digital. Send story tips to [email protected]