(CNN) — Independent testing on the weapon used in a fatal shooting on the set of the film “Rust” shows the trigger had to be pulled, the gun fired normally and did not malfunction, according to a report filed in court, raising the possibility that charges could be refiled against actor Alec Baldwin.
“The fired evidence cartridge is the consequence of a normal hammer fall from the fully cocked position of the hammer,” the report compiled by Forensic Science Services in Arizona states.
The report was filed as part of a defense motion on behalf of the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who is charged with tampering with the gun used in the shooting as well as two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
The October 2021 shooting on a New Mexico film set killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.
They were struck by a live round of ammunition fired from a prop gun being held by Baldwin while rehearsing a scene, officials have said.
CNN’s calls to Baldwin for comment on the report were not immediately returned.
Baldwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter in January, but the charges were dismissed in April. At the time, special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis said Baldwin could still face culpability and charges could be refiled.
“The charges against Alec Baldwin were dismissed without prejudice because a possible malfunction of the gun significantly affects causation with regard to Baldwin, not with regard to Gutierrez. If it is determined that the gun did not malfunction, charges against Mr. Baldwin will proceed. The prosecution anticipates making a final charging decision with regard to Mr. Baldwin within the next sixty days,” prosecutors said in a June court filing.
When reached by CNN Wednesday, Morrissey said charges against Baldwin are still being considered and a final decision had not been made.
According to the report attached to Gutierrez Reed’s motion, the experts say the trigger was in fact pulled on the weapon, which Baldwin has consistently denied.
“Although Alec Baldwin repeatedly denies pulling the trigger, given the tests, findings and observations reported here, the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver,” the report states.
“If the hammer had not been fully retracted to the rear and were to slip from the handler’s thumb without the trigger depressed, the half cock or quarter cock notches in the hammer should have prevented the firing pin from reaching any cartridge in the firing chamber,” it reads.
The weapon was inoperable when Forensic Science Services received it after being broken during tests ran by the FBI, when it was returned to operable condition. “From an examination of the fired cartridge case and the operationally restored evidence revolver, this fatal incident was the consequence of the hammer being manually retracted to its fully rearward and cocked position followed, at some point, by the pull or rearward depression of the trigger,” the report said.
“The only conceivable alternative to the foregoing would be a situation in which the trigger was already pulled or held rearward while retracting the hammer to its full cock position. Although unlikely and totally contrary to the normal operation of these single action revolvers, such improper handling, would result in the discharge of a live cartridge,” it added.
Investigators have not determined how and why live rounds were on the set of the movie.
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