Investigator Makes Major Ruling In Alec Baldwin's Rust Shooting Case

Actor Alec Baldwin made major headlines in 2021 — but not thanks to his acting chops or impressive impersonation skills. On October 21, 2021, a tragic accident occurred on the set of his passion project film, "Rust." A gun — held by Baldwin — discharged, fatally wounding cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. Since the news imploded Baldwin's personal and professional life, the actor has been the subject of much scrutiny, including an FBI investigation and a lawsuit from Hutchins' family.

"Halyna Hutchins deserved to live," her family's lawyers stated, per The U.S. Sun. The legal team also asserted that Baldwin, El Dorado Pictures, Rust Movie Productions, Short Porch Picture, and the others "had the power to prevent her death if they had only held sacrosanct their duty to protect the safety of every individual on a set where firearms were present instead of cutting corners on safety procedures where human lives were at stake, rushing to stay on schedule and ignoring numerous complaints of safety violation."

For his part, Baldwin held off addressing the tragedy for about two months. In a December 2021 interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, the actor said he "would never point a gun at someone and pull the trigger on them, never," before adding that the accident was just that — an accident. 

The Rust shooting involving Alec Baldwin has been ruled an accident

Following the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins, the FBI launched an investigation into the on-set incident involving Alec Baldwin. Revelations from the FBI included that the gun used was "intact and functional" and thus "could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger," per the forensic report obtained by ABC News. As a result, many were quick to point the finger at Baldwin and his wrongdoing.

However, New Mexico's Office of the Medical Investigator has found that — upon completion of the autopsy – the shooting and eventual death of the young cinematographer was an accident. AP News noted August 15 that the newly released report, accompanied by FBI findings regarding the gun used, was made public by Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office — now, it's up to prosecutors to move forward with, or abandon, any charges. 

"New Mexico authorities have found that Alec Baldwin had no authority or knowledge of the allegedly unsafe conditions on the set," attorney Luke Nikas noted. "He was told by the person in charge of safety on the set that the gun was 'cold,' and believed the gun was safe."

Time will determine whether or not Baldwin — and other involved parties — faces charges.