Gun in deadly ‘Rust’ film set shooting couldn’t be fired without pulling trigger, according to FBI forensic evidence

FBI evidence of the weapon used in the fatal shooting on the set of “Rust” discovered that the gun wielded by actor Alec Baldwin could not be fired without pulling the trigger while the gun was cocked, according to a newly released coroner’s report.

Baldwin had the gun while rehearsing a scene movie western at Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico in October when a shot was fired, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.

In December, Baldwin said ABC News he never pulled the trigger of the gun that shot Hutchins. “The trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin, in that interview, also described cocking the gun while discussing the scene with Hutchins. “So I told him, ‘Now, in this scene, I’m going to the gun.’ And I said, ‘Do you want to see that?’ And she said yes.’ So I take the gun and start cocking the gun. I’m not going to pull the trigger.”

Cocking a revolver pistol like the one used on the movie set involves pulling the pistol’s hammer back to prime the gun for firing. When the firing pin of the weapon is released forward with sufficient force, such as happens when the trigger is pulled, it strikes the primer of a round of ammunition, causing the weapon to fire.

The FBI forensic report was turned over to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office as part of the ongoing investigation into the fatal on-set shooting.

The report found that the weapon, a .45 Colt (.45 Long Colt) F.lli Pietta single-action revolver, “could not be fired without pulling the trigger” with the hammer cocked in the 1/4 and 1/2 positions. . He also found that when the gun was fully cocked, “it could not be fired without pulling the trigger while the internal working components were intact and functional.”

FBI examiners noted an internal malfunction of the weapon during testing in the fully cocked position, with the report noting that “portions of the trigger sear and cylinder stopper fractured while the hammer was being struck.”

The FBI report noted the limitations of forensic evidence, saying “it may not be possible to recreate or duplicate all of the circumstances that led to the discharge of a firearm without pulling the trigger.”

CNN has reached out to a representative for Baldwin for comment.

An attorney representing Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who served as a gunsmith and prop assistant on the film, said the coroner’s report indicated “Baldwin had to have pulled the trigger to fire the revolver” and that the 24-year-old was being used as a “scapegoat.”

Part of the Santa Fe County police investigation focuses on how a live ammunition round may have made it to the film set.

In April, Rust Movie Productions, LLC was fined nearly US$137,000 and cited for having a culture of “simple disregard for employee safety” on set, according to a report by the New Mexico Environment Department’s Office of Occupational Safety and Health.

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