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Alec Baldwin Shooting on Stage Ruled an Accident

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

Last year, actor Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, according to the findings of a top government medical examiner.

Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office published the decision made by New Mexico’s Office of the Medical Investigator on Monday, following weekend news reports detailing the results of an FBI analysis of the weapon used in the crime. Prosecutors have not decided whether or not to press criminal charges against Baldwin because they are still gathering cell phone data.

Baldwin’s lawyer, Luke Nikas, released a statement in response to the latest turn of events: “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.

According to the FBI’s forensic report, which was made public over the weekend, the murder weapon, a revolver, could not have been fired unless the trigger was pulled. A report acquired by ABC News states that the .45 Colt pistol “could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger” at any of the three cocked positions (quarter, half, and fully). It is the standard operating procedure for a revolver to fire a round when the hammer is struck, provided the hammer is in the de-cocked place.

Baldwin told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos at the year’s end that he “pulled the hammer as far back as I could without cocking,” and then “let go of the hammer” before the gun went off. Baldwin claimed in an interview that he had not pulled the gun’s trigger, that he “would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them,” and that “someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property.After the interview, the Washington Post ran a fact-checking piece in which they quoted several experts on firearms who were skeptical of Baldwin’s claims.

It was stated earlier this month by Santa Fe’s district attorney, Mary Carmack-Altwies, that no options were being eliminated. Once the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office (‘FJDA’) receives the completed investigation from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office (‘SFSO’), the FJDA will begin the screening process and any necessary follow-up investigation,” she said in a remark. “To date, my office has received portions of the Rust investigation from SFSO but is still awaiting the balance of supplemental reports including, but not limited to, the following: FBI firearm and tool mark analyses, forensic testing on the firearm itself, the forensic download from Suffolk County PD of Mr. Baldwin’s phone, and the pathology report from the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator.

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Once SFSO receives those—and any other outstanding items—and completes its supplemental reports, the screening process will begin, and my team and I will make a charging decision,” she continued. “To expedite the FJDA review process, I have added retired Ninth Judicial District Attorney, Andrea Reeb, to the team, as a special prosecutor for this case. To remain transparent to the local and national community, the FJDA will proactively disseminate information as it becomes available.