Medical investigators rule Baldwin shooting was an accident

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Medical investigators rule Baldwin shooting was an accident

Medical investigators in the US state of New Mexico have ruled that the fatal film shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins by actor Alec Baldwin was an accident.

The determination by New Mexico's Office of the Medical Investigator was released on Monday after the completion of an autopsy and a review of law-enforcement reports.

Prosecutors haven't decided yet whether or not to lay charges in the case, as they review the latest reports and wait for phone data from Baldwin's attorneys.

Baldwin pointed a gun at cinematographer Hutchins when it discharged on October 21 last year, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza.

They had been inside a small church on the set of the film Rust.

Baldwin's lawyer, Luke Nikas, said the report was further proof that the shooting was a tragic accident and that his client should not face criminal charges.

This is the third time that the New Mexico authorities have found that Alec Baldwin had no authority or knowledge of the allegedly unsafe conditions on the set, and that he was told by the person in charge of safety on the set that the gun was cold and that the gun was safe, he said.

It is too early to tell how much weight the medical investigator's report will carry with the District Attorney's office.

In November of this year, Hutchins' husband filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baldwin and about two dozen other defendants, alleging that they disregarded standard industry practices meant to keep movie sets safe.

In an interview last December, Baldwin said that he was pointing the gun at Hutchins, at her instruction, on the set of the Western film when it went off after he cocked it.

He said he did not pull the trigger.

An FBI analysis of the revolver suggested it was in working order and would not have discharged unless it was fully cocked and the trigger pulled.

The report said the gun could not have discharged without pulling the trigger, while the working internal components were intact and functional.

During the FBI's tests of the gun, authorities said portions of the gun's trigger sear and cylinder stop were fractured while the hammer was struck.

That allowed the hammer to fall and the firing pin to detonate the primer.

The FBI reported how many times the revolver's hammer may have been struck during the tests.

Baldwin previously said the gun should not have been loaded for the rehearsal.

Live rounds found on a cart and in a holster in the church were seized by investigators, as well as blank and dummy cartridges.

In a scathing report released by the Occupational Health and Safety Bureau in April, a narrative of safety failures in violation of standard industry protocols was detailed, including testimony that production managers did not take any action to address two misfires on the set prior to the fatal shooting.

The report also found gun safety complaints from crew members that went unheeded, and said weapons specialists were not allowed to make decisions about further safety training.

The medical investigators' office said the shooting was an accident and there was no evidence that the revolver was intentionally loaded with live ammunition on the set, as well as the absence of obvious intent to cause harm or death.