Fatal film-set shooting by actor Alec Baldwin was an accident, medical investigator finds

According to the decision of the New Mexico Office of Medical Investigation after completing an autopsy and reviewing law enforcement reports, the shooting death of a cinematographer on the set of actor Alec Baldwin last year was an accident.

The medical investigator’s report was released Monday by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, along with multiple reports from the FBI about the pistol and ammunition collected after the shooting.

Prosecutors have yet to decide whether there are any charges, saying they will review the latest reports and are awaiting cell phone data from Baldwin’s attorneys.

Baldwin pointed a gun at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins when it erupted on October 21, killing Hutchins and injuring the director, Joel Souza. They were inside a small church during setup to shoot a scene.

While it’s too early to say how much weight the medical investigator’s report will have on the district attorney’s office, Baldwin’s legal team considers it more evidence that the shooting was ” a catastrophic accident” and that he should not face criminal charges.

A photo of Hutchins was displayed during her memorial service in Albuquerque, NM, on October 23, 2021. Hutchins had been fatally shot two days earlier after an assistant director gave Baldwin a used weapon. loaded and told him it was safe to use on the Rust movie. (Andres Leighton / The Associated Press)

“This is the third time that New Mexico authorities have found that Alec Baldwin was not authorized or was unaware of the allegedly unsafe conditions on set, and the person in charge of safety on set said. that the gun was ‘cooled.’ and believed the gun was safe,” attorney Luke Nikas said in a statement.

Trigger must be pulled: FBI analysis

Baldwin said in a December interview with ABC News that he was pointing a gun at Hutchins as directed by her on the set of the film Western Rust when it disappeared after he checked it. He said he didn’t pull the trigger.

An FBI analysis of the revolver Baldwin was holding in his hand during rehearsal showed it was in good working order at the time and would not work unless it was fully activated and the trigger pulled.

With the hammer in full position, the FBI report said the gun could not fire without pulling the trigger, while internal components were intact and in good working order.

During the FBI’s inspection of the gun, authorities said, parts of the trigger and cylinder of the gun stopped breaking while the hammer was struck. That allows the hammer to drop and the pin to fire to blow up the primer.

“This was the only successful discharge during this test, and it is believed to have been caused by a fracture of internal components, not a fault in the firearm or the safety mechanism,” the report states.

Baldwin speaks on the phone in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office in Santa Fe, NM, on October 21, 2021, after being questioned about the shooting. (Jim Weber / Santa Fe New Mexico / The Associated Press)

According to the FBI report, it is unclear how many times the revolver’s hammer may have been struck during the test.

Baldwin, who is also a producer on the film, previously said that the gun should not be loaded for rehearsal.

Find more real ammo

Among the ammunition seized from the filming location were live bullets found on a trolley and in holsters at the building where the shooting took place. Empty and counterfeit cartridges were also found.

The New Mexico Department of Occupational Safety and Health, in a scathing report released in April, detailed safety failures resulting from violations of industry standard procedures, including testimony that operators Production management took little or no action to address two fires on set prior to the fatal shooting.

The office also records gun safety complaints from crew members that go unnoticed and says firearms professionals are not authorized to make decisions about additional safety training.

In reaching the conclusion that the shooting was an accident, the New Mexico medical coroner’s office indicated that there was “no apparent intent to cause harm or death” and stated that “there is no convincing evidence” that the pistol was intentionally loaded with live ammunition. on the movie set.

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