FBI tells court Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ gun would not fire without pulling trigger

By Thomson Reuters Feb 26, 2024 | 12:05 PM

By Andrew Hay

SANTA FE, N.M. (Reuters) – The revolver actor Alec Baldwin was holding when it fired a live round that killed “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in 2021 would not fire when fully cocked without the trigger being pulled, an FBI firearms expert testified on Monday.

The testimony during the involuntary manslaughter trial of the movie’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez contrasted with Baldwin’s initial comments after the shooting. He testified that he cocked the gun but did not pull the trigger.

Gutierrez’s lawyers claim she is being scapegoated for the actor’s failure to follow basic firearms safety rules.

“It would not fire without pulling the trigger in the full cock position,” FBI forensic examiner Bryce Ziegler testified, adding that he had to break the gun by hitting its hammer with a rawhide mallet to make it fire in the fully-cocked position.

In a December 2021 ABC television interview, Baldwin denied responsibility for the shooting, saying it was the job of Gutierrez and others to ensure firearm safety and live rounds should never have been brought on set.

Baldwin said he was directed to point the gun at the camera when it went off, firing the round that killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza, who survived.

“I didn’t pull the trigger,” the actor told ABC television journalist George Stephanopoulos in 2021. “I cocked the gun and go, ‘Can you see that? Can you see that? And I let go of the hammer of the gun and the gun goes off.”

A trial date has not yet been set for Baldwin, who also faces an involuntary manslaughter charge.

(Reporting By Andrew Hay; editing by Donna Bryson and Aurora Ellis)