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Flawed pistol led to manslaughter charges being dropped against Alec Baldwin, source says

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The special prosecutors’ decision to drop the charges against Alec Baldwin over the fatal on-set Rust shooting was made, at least in part, because investigators found the gun that fired to be mechanically improper, a source familiar with the matter told ABC News.

Baldwin, 65, had been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter after fatally shooting cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, on the New Mexico set of the Western in October 2021. The actor was practicing a cross-draw when the gun discharged, mortally wounding Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.

Investigators effectively conducted an autopsy of the Colt-style .45 revolver, and found there were worn joints and that the trigger control was not functioning properly, according to the source, who said it became evident to prosecutors the gun could fire without pressure on the trigger.

Baldwin told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview in the wake of the shooting that he had “no idea” how a live bullet got onto the set or into the pistol’s chamber instead of an inert “dummy” round.

He insisted to Stephanopoulos, “I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them, never.”

Baldwin’s attorneys said Thursday they were pleased with the decision to dismiss the case against Baldwin and “encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic accident.”

Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis were appointed special prosecutors in the case last month after Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and state Rep. Andrea Reeb stepped down.

After they formally declared the involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin dismissed, they added, “This decision does not absolve Mr. Baldwin of criminal culpability and charges may be refiled. Our follow-up investigation will remain active and ongoing.”

Two counts of involuntary manslaughter leveled against the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, were
unchanged, they added.

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