Killing of cinematographer on 'Rust' set declared an accident

Investigator came up with findings after completion of autopsy, review of law enforcement reports

Killing of cinematographer on 'Rust' set declared an accident

The incident on the set of the film “Rust” that left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead was an accident. This was the determination made by New Mexico's Office of the Medical Investigator following the completion of an autopsy and a review of law enforcement reports, CTV News reported.

The medical investigator's report was made public Monday by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office.

Hutchins was fatally shot in late 2021 on the set of the film by actor Alec Baldwin after he fired a prop firearm. Hutchins was killed on the movie set in October after a “prop” firearm discharged by actor Baldwin misfired. It also injured the film’s director Joel Souza. The firearm was supposed to have been loaded with dummy bullets.

The findings was further proof that the shooting was "a tragic accident" and that Baldwin should not face criminal charges, according to the actor’s legal team.

"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, Baldwin’s lawyer, said in a statement, according to a CTV News report.

Baldwin has denied responsibility for the accident. In an interview with ABC after the shooting, he said “I feel someone is responsible for what happened, but I know it isn’t me. I might have killed myself if I thought I was responsible, and I don’t say that lightly.”

Though Baldwin has previously denied that he pulled the trigger, a recent F.B.I. report found that he did indeed pull the trigger. Accidental discharge testing determined that a .45 Colt (.45 Long Colt) caliber F.lli Pietta single-action revolver used in the accident could not have fired without the trigger being pulled, ABC News reported, citing FBI findings.

Whether the hammer was in the quarter- and half-cock positions or fully cocked, the gun "could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger," according to the report. Working internal components must also be intact and functional for the gun to fire with a pull of the trigger if the hammer is fully cocked.

With the hammer de-cocked on a loaded chamber, the gun was able to detonate a primer "without a pull of the trigger when the hammer was struck directly," which is normal for this type of revolver, the F.B.I. report stated, according to ABC News.

The FBI’s report could still potentially lead to criminal charges against the Hollywood star and other people involved in the fatal accident.

An affidavit released after the incident stated that Baldwin had been drawing a revolver across his body and pointing it at a camera during a rehearsal when the weapon misfired – striking Hutchins in the chest.

In April, Rust Movie Productions, LLC was fined a maximum USD $136,793 after the New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health & Safety Bureau found that the movie crew had “willfully violated” safety rules, leading to the death of Hutchins.

Serge Svetnoy, the film’s chief of lighting, has also filed a complaint of "general negligence" against actor/producer Alec Baldwin, armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, assistant director Dave Halls, prop master Sarah Zachry, the production and its financial backers.