Alec Baldwin 'Rust' Set Shooting Was an Accident, New Mexico Medical Investigator Rules

·5 min read
Credit: Courtesy of Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office — Alec Baldwin Seen Holding Gun Used in Rust Shooting in Newly Released Footage from Investigation
Credit: Courtesy of Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office — Alec Baldwin Seen Holding Gun Used in Rust Shooting in Newly Released Footage from Investigation

Courtesy of Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office

The shooting by Alec Baldwin that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust last year was an accident, according to a report by the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator.

On Monday, the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office released the medical investigator's report, which included a completed autopsy and review of law enforcement reports, as well as reports by the FBI on the revolver and ammunition it collected from the Rust set, which PEOPLE obtained.

Prosecutors in the case said they have not decided whether to file any charges in the case and that they would review these new reports and are waiting for cell phone data from attorneys for 64-year-old Baldwin, according to the Associated Press.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment Tuesday.

RELATED: FBI Investigation Determines Alec Baldwin Must Have Pulled Trigger in Rust Shooting: Report

According to an FBI forensic report obtained by PEOPLE, the gun Baldwin held that discharged on Oct. 21, killed Hutchins, 42, and wounded director Joel Souza, had to have had its trigger pulled.

The revolver at the center of this case, when "intact and functional," "could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger" unless the hammer was "de-cocked on a loaded chamber" and "the hammer was struck directly," according to the FBI report.

Rust Film Set
Rust Film Set

Jae C Hong/AP/Shutterstock

In December 2021, Baldwin said in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that he "didn't pull the trigger" on the gun during the Oct. 21 incident. "The trigger wasn't pulled. I didn't pull the trigger. I would never point a gun at someone and pull the trigger on them, never," Baldwin said at the time.

Baldwin appeared on Chris Cuomo's The Chris Cuomo Project podcast in an episode published Tuesday and said that he did not fire the weapon, citing reports issued on the investigation.

"This did not come from me. This came from the [district attorney's] office themselves. You're familiar with what fanning a gun is, have you heard of that phrase, fanning a gun?" Baldwin told Cuomo, 52, before describing the technique common in Western films.

"The hammer didn't lock," Baldwin said. "You pulled it back to an extent where it would fire the bullet without you pulling the trigger. Without you locking the hammer."

"The hammer didn't lock," Baldwin told Cuomo. "You pulled it back to an extent where it would fire the bullet without you pulling the trigger," he said, then apparently corrected himself, adding, "without you locking the hammer."

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"The man who's the principal safety officer on the set of the film declared that the gun was safe when he handed it to me," he continued. "The person who was the principal safety officer of the film declared in front of the entire assemblage, 'This is a cold gun.' "

"Now, why did he say that? If he didn't know, if he hadn't checked?" Baldwin asked. "The point is, all of us were told that everything was cool and you can relax and and we're working with a gun that's safe to rehearse with."

On Friday, Luke Nikas, an attorney for Baldwin, said in a statement to ABC News that 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," Nikas 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."

"The critical report is the one from the medical examiner, who concluded that this was a tragic accident," the lawyer continued. "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."

Alec Baldwin attends the World Premiere of National Geographic Documentary Films' 'The First Wave' at Hamptons
Alec Baldwin attends the World Premiere of National Geographic Documentary Films' 'The First Wave' at Hamptons

Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images Alec Baldwin

RELATED: Alec Baldwin Seen Holding Gun Used in Rust Shooting in Newly Released Footage from Investigation

A postmortem report from the medical examiners obtained by PEOPLE noted that "review of available law enforcement reports showed no compelling demonstration that the firearm was intentionally loaded with live ammunition on set."

"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 report concluded.

In April, New Mexico workplace safety regulators issued a fine of over $135,000 to Rust Movie Productions, LLC for "plain indifference to the recognized hazards associated with the use of firearms on set that resulted in a fatality, severe injury and unsafe working conditions."

At the time, the New Mexico Environment Department's Occupational Health and Safety Bureau (OHSB) said that management of the production company "knew that firearm safety procedures were not being followed on set and demonstrated plain indifference to employee safety by failing to review work practices and take corrective action."