The shooting death of a cinematographer by actor Alec Baldwin on the set of “Rust” last year was an accident, New Mexico’s Office of Medical Investigator determined.
The medical investigator’s report, which was completed following an autopsy and a review of police reports, was made public Monday by the Santé Fe County Sheriff’s Office.
Prosecutors have yet to determine if any charges should be filed in the case as they review the latest reports, including from the FBI on the revolver and ammunition that were collected after the shooting.
They are also awaiting cell phone data from Baldwin’s legal team.
The medical investigator’s ruling led Baldwin’s lawyers to argue their client should not face charges connected to the “tragic accident” that killed Halyna Hutchins on Oct. 21. The film’s director, Joel Souza, was wounded in the shooting.
“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,” attorney Luke Nikas said in a statement.
The state’s medical investigator’s office explained the shooting was accidental because there was an “absence of obvious intent to cause harm or death” and there was “no compelling demonstration” the weapon was intentionally loaded with live rounds on set.
Baldwin told ABC News in December he pointed the gun at Hutchins after she instructed him to on the set of the Western film Baldwin was also producing. He said the gun fired after he cocked it, but denied pulling the trigger.
“The trigger wasn’t pulled,” he said. “I didn’t pull the trigger.”
But an FBI analysis of the revolver Baldwin held suggested the gun worked and would not have gone off unless it was fully cocked and the trigger was pulled.
Nikas, Baldwin’s lawyer, told Fox News “the FBI report is being misconstrued.”
“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,” he said. “The FBI was unable to fire the gun in any prior test, even when pulling the trigger, because it was in such poor condition.”
Meanwhile a representative for “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed told Fox News, “The newly released FBI report 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.”
Baldwin also said in the past the gun should not have been loaded during a rehearsal.
Ammunition seized from the film location were live rounds found in a cart and in the holster in the building where the shooting occurred. Blank and dummy cartridges were also found.
New Mexico’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau had a long list of safety failures on set, including testimony that the production managers took little to no action to correct two misfires on set before the fatal shooting.
With Post wires
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