the law

FBI Says Rust Gun Could Not Fire Without Trigger Pull

Photo: AFP via Getty Images

The gun that was used in the fatal shooting on the set of Rust last year in New Mexico could not have been fired without pulling the trigger, according to an FBI forensic report. The report’s findings contradict Alec Baldwin’s prior claims that he never pulled the trigger on the gun that killed the film’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and wounded director Joel Souza. Baldwin has also repeatedly stated that he believed that the weapon was “cold” without live ammunition. The FBI’s accidental discharge testing, however, found that the firearm used in the shooting, a .45 Colt (.45 Long Colt) caliber F.lli Pietta single-action revolver, could not have fired without the trigger being pulled. The report elaborates that with the hammer of the gun in the quarter- and half-cock positions, the gun “could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger.” Further, with the hammer fully cocked, the gun “could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger while the working internal components were intact and functional.” The report did not address why a live bullet was in the firearm used in the shooting, which is still under investigation with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. Representatives for Baldwin have not responded to the report.

Rust’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, through her lawyer, criticized Santa Fe’s police for their handling of the tragedy. Her legal team released a statement through Deadline in response to the FBI forensic report:

The primary question in this case from the beginning has been where did the live rounds that ended upon the Rust set come from? As can be seen from the attached emails, the Sheriff’s office made a conscious decision not to pursue this question at all by refusing to ask the FBI to test any of the rounds for fingerprints or DNA. We now know for certain there were live rounds on set.

It is inconceivable that the Sheriff would not seek answers to this fundamental question and it raises a serious problem with the entire investigation. We have long sought this answer and will not give up in pursuing the truth to find it.

A Santa Fe Sheriff’s office detective responded to her lawyer and explained that items on film sets are “handled over and over and over” and it “didn’t make sense” to investigate the fingerprints of the props. Ultimately, the FBI decided not to seek fingerprints and DNA samples from the weapons in the incident.

This post has been updated throughout. 

FBI Says Rust Gun Could Not Fire Without Trigger Pull