It’s been a year since cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed on the set of “Rust” in New Mexico.
Hallina passed away when a gun Alec Baldwin was holding drawn, while rehearsing a scene on the New Mexico set on October 21, 2021. The band had been rehearsing at a small church on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set.
Baldwin maintained that he didn’t pull the trigger on the gun – once during a primetime interview shortly after filming and again during a recent podcast episode. The actor first said he pulled the hammer of the gun as far as he could and released it.
Here is an overview of the status of the investigation after one year:
The investigation remains ongoing
The civil suit has been settled, but the criminal investigation into the “Rust” shooting is ongoing. The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department focused on how the live ammunition got to the set.
The department spent time interviewing all of the witnesses involved, including Baldwin, gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez Reed, and many others. Additionally, the sheriff’s department has enlisted a few third parties to assist.
The weapon used in the shooting was sent to the FBI for testing. Office released the FBI forensic reportwho determined that the gun used in the fatal shooting “could not fire without the trigger being pulled”.
Testing showed that when the hammer of the Colt .45 caliber F.lli Pietta single action revolver was in the quarter and half cock positions, the gun would not fire without the trigger being pulled. When the hammer was in the fully cocked position, the gun “could not be fired without pulling the trigger while the working internals were intact and functional”.
The sheriff’s office also received the report from the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator (IMO). The report judged the “Rust” by shooting an accident.
“The critical report is from the medical examiner, who concluded it was a tragic accident,” Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, told Fox News Digital. “This is the third time New Mexico authorities have found that Alec Baldwin had no authority or knowledge of the allegedly dangerous conditions on set, that he was told by the person in charge of security on set tray that the weapon was ‘cold’, ‘and I believed the weapon was safe.”
Once Alec Baldwin’s cell phone records are obtainedand official IMO and forensic reports are reviewed, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s investigation file will be sent to the District Attorney for review and, ultimately, a final charging decision.
The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department is currently reviewing the case for a final time, according to office spokesman Juan Rios.
“The Rust investigation file is undergoing final review by the sheriff’s office before being submitted to the Santa Fe District Attorney,” Rios told Fox News Digital. “We don’t have a set date as to when this will happen. Beyond this information, our agency has no further comment.”
Who could face charges?
New Mexico’s first judicial district attorney, Mary Carmack-Altwies, named Baldwin specifically in her request for emergency funding to pursue the case. The DA further claimed that she planned to pursue up to four people who were on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set.
“The ‘Rust’ lawsuits could potentially be one (1) to four (4) defendant lawsuits,” Carmack-Altwies wrote in documents filed for an emergency grant. “One of the possible defendants is well-known movie actor Alec Baldwin.”
However, the decision of who will be charged criminally cannot be made until the prosecutor receives the final investigation report from the sheriff’s department.
“The District Attorney is still awaiting the final report from the Santa Fe County Sheriff,” Heather Brewer, a spokeswoman for the Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office, told Fox News Digital.
“Once the District Attorney receives the full report from the Santa Fe County Sheriff, she and her team of attorneys and professional investigators can begin their thorough review of all of the documents provided. As with any other case that process, the District Attorney will focus on maintaining the integrity of the process and ensuring that this investigation is conducted to the highest standards.”
Civil lawsuit settled
A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Alec Baldwin and other key production members on February 15.
The trial named Baldwin and others who “are responsible for on-set security” and have exposed “reckless behavior and cost-cutting” that led to Hutchins’ death, according to the family’s attorney.
Lawyers for Matthew Hutchins interviewed witnesses before giving evidence and created a video compiling evidence from the wrongful death trial. In the video shared at a press conference, Matthew’s attorneys reiterated crew members’ claims that the “Rust” set was unsafe. The lawsuit claimed that Baldwin, who also served as the film’s producer, and other “Rust” crew and cast committed “major breaches” of on-set safety.
The family sued for punitive damages and funeral and burial expenses, among other things to be determined originally at trial.
However, on October 5, Halyna’s husband announced that the civil lawsuit had been settled pending court approval.
“We have reached a settlement, subject to court approval, for our wrongful death case against the producers of ‘Rust,’ including Alec Baldwin and Rust Movie Productions, LLC. As part of this settlement, our case will be dismissed,” Matthew Hutchins said in a statement to Fox News Digital through his attorney Brian Panish of Panish | Shea | Boylee | Ravipudi LLP.
“Filming of ‘Rust’, which I will now executive produce, will resume with all of the original principal cast on board in January 2023. I have no interest in engaging in any recriminations or reprimands (at (producers or Mr. Baldwin). We all believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to honor Halyna’s latest work.
Additionally, Baldwin released a statement regarding the resolution of the lawsuit on social media.
“We are pleased to announce today the settlement of the civil lawsuit filed on behalf of the family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins,” Baldwin captioned a screenshot of an article. “Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained a specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son. We are grateful to everyone who has helped resolve this tragic and painful situation.”
The filming of “Rust” will resume
As Matthew announced, “Rust” will resume filming in January 2023, and he revealed that he would be the executive producer.
The western film is now in scouting but has confirmed the cast and crew will not be returning to New Mexico, where Halyna’s death occurred.
“The production of ‘Rust’ will not be returning to New Mexico,” Melina Spadone, attorney for Rust Movie Productions LLC, told Fox News Digital on Wednesday. “The production is considering other locations, including California, but no decision has been made.”
While it hasn’t been confirmed if Baldwin will be joining the production, Matthew’s initial announcement claimed that production would resume with “original principal cast”.
Fox News Digital’s Janelle Ash contributed to this report.