Investigation Into Rust Shooting Has Concluded, Findings Differ From Alec Baldwin’s Account Of The Situation

Alec Baldwin speaks out about Rust gun safety incident to ABC News December 2021
(Image credit: ABC News)

It was last fall that the entertainment industry was shaken by the tragic events that occurred on the set of western film Rust. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed by a live round that was fired from a prop gun. Lead actor Alec Baldwin was holding the gun that fired the round, also injuring director Joel Souza in the process. The FBI soon launched an investigation and, in the midst of that, Baldwin denied pulling the trigger. Now, the investigation is complete, and the forensic findings clash with Baldwin’s account. 

The FBI recently released a forensics report, which found that the gun used on the set couldn’t have been fired unless the person handling it pulled the trigger. The report, which was obtained by ABC News, explained that this conclusion was derived from accidental discharge testing using the exact type of gun used on the set. The .45 Colt caliber F.lli Pietta single-action revolver reportedly “could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger” if the hammer was placed in quarter-and half-cock positions. The firearm also “could not be made to fire” without pulling the trigger if the hammer were fully cocked. 

Alec Baldwin has not publicly addressed the forensic findings, as of this writing. In the aftermath of Halyna Hutchins’ death, the actor had spoken about the situation on multiple occasions. After the FBI began its work, Baldwin denied rumors that he was not complying with the investigation. When explaining why he was speaking out after the Rust tragedy during a lengthy interview, the actor evoked the investigation. While acknowledging that it could take time, he stated that he “[couldn’t] wait for that process” and wanted to share his side of the story. Legal arbitration also claimed that Baldwin didn’t even know a live round had been shot until he was shown the bullet. 

Subsequently, Alec Baldwin has been at the center of multiple lawsuits. In November 2021, he and the production company behind the film were sued by the crew’s chief of lighting, Serge Svetnoa. Through his lawsuit, Svetnoa requested punitive damages and accused Baldwin and his fellow producers of being “consciously aware of the wrongfulness and harmfulness of their conduct.” Script supervisor Mamie Mitchell filed suit less than a week later, claiming that Baldwin was playing “Russian Roulette with a loaded gun.” She went on to claim that he “intentionally, without cause or excuse” fired the gun. 

Halyna Hutchins’ family hit the actor with another lawsuit, which also included Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed and assistant director David Halls. The suit was filed by Hutchins’ husband, Matthew, on behalf of himself and the couple’s young son, Andros. The filing also stated that the leading man and crew members “were aware of firearms safety issues that had occurred on the set.”

The company behind Rust also faced maximum fines as a result of an investigation conducted by the New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau. A Willful-Serious citation was issued to the company, and it carries a penalty of $136,793. The production house had 15 days to either pay the fine or to send a certification of corrective action or contest the citation. 

It’s currently unclear as to how things the fallout as a whole will progress now that the FBI investigation has concluded. Though many will likely be curious as to whether Alec Baldwin decides to speak out once more.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.