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The Trigger Of Gun That Killed Halyna Hutchins On 'Rust' Film Set Had To Be Pulled, FBI Report Concludes
Alec Baldwin’s attorney Luke Nikas said the FBI report has been “misconstrued” and said a recent report from the medical examiner ruling Halyna Hutchins' death as an accident was the "critical" finding in the case.
The gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins could not have fired unless the trigger had been pulled, according to a new FBI report.
Actor Alec Baldwin had been holding the antique revolver on Oct. 21 when it discharged on the set of the western film “Rust” and struck Hutchins in the chest, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza.
Baldwin insisted to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in December that he never pulled the trigger on the gun, which he believed was a “cold gun,” a term in the industry used to refer to a weapon without any live rounds.
“The trigger wasn’t pulled,” he said at the time. “I didn’t pull the trigger.”
However, according to a new FBI report, the .45 caliber Colt replica F.Ili Pietta single-action revolver could not have fired unless the trigger had been pulled.
The ballistic analysis found that the gun “could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger” when the hammer of the weapon was in both the quarter- and half-cock positions. It could also not fire “without the pull of the trigger while the working internal components were intact and functional” when the weapon was fully cocked, according to the findings.
In a statement to Oxygen.com, Baldwin’s attorney Luke Nikas said the FBI report has been “misconstrued” and questioned the “poor condition” of the gun when the weapon was tested.
“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.”
Nikas also pointed to a recent report from the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator which ruled Hutchins’ death an accident.
“The critical report is the one from the medical examiner, who concluded that this was a tragic accident,” Nikas said. “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.”
The medical examiner’s report found that Hutchins died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.
“Review of available law enforcement reports showed no compelling demonstration that the firearm was intentionally loaded with live ammunition on set,” it stated. “Based on all available information, including the absence of obvious intent to cause harm or death, the manner of death is best classified as accident.”
The shooting remains under investigation by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, officials told Oxygen.com. Investigators are still waiting to review Baldwin’s phone records before handing the findings of their investigation over to the district attorney’s office, who will determine whether any charges will be filed in connection to the shooting.
It’s still not clear how the live round got into the weapon, which was being used in a rehearsal for an upcoming scene in the movie when it went off.
Shortly after the shooting, Baldwin told investigators that the weapon had fired the "first time" they had been rehearsing a shot.
“When I shot the gun, away from the cameraman, I never aim the gun at the camera, I turned and went like this,” he said, making a gun with his fingers and pointing across the table, according to Fox News. “And she was there. And the gun went off. And she just went right on the ground.”
An attorney for Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the film’s armorer, said the FBI report contradicted Baldwin’s earlier claim that he had never pulled the trigger.
"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," attorney Jason Bowles said in a statement to ABC News. "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."
Hutchins called the idea that Baldwin was not responsible for the shooting “absurd” in an interview with “Today” co-host Hoda Kotb earlier this year.
“The idea that the person holding the gun and causing it to discharge is not responsible is absurd to me,” he said. “Every individual who touches the firearm has a responsibility for gun safety. But, gun safety was not the only problem on that set. There were a number of industry standards that were not practiced and there’s multiple responsible parties.”