‘Rust’ Charges Against Alec Baldwin Formally Dropped After Reports of Faulty Gun That ‘Could Fire Without Pressure on the Trigger’

Involuntary manslaughter charges against armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed remain in place, however

Alec Baldwin's role in an on-set death on "Rust" highlighted the issue of crew safety.
Alec Baldwin's role in an on-set death on "Rust" highlighted the issue of crew safety.

New Mexico prosecutors formally dropped involuntary manslaughter charges against “Rust” producer and star Alec Baldwin on Friday, hours after reports surfaced that the replica Colt .45 pistol had a faulty trigger that could go off without being pulled.

“Investigators effectively conducted an autopsy of the Colt .45 revolver and found that there were worn joints and that the trigger control was not functioning properly, according to the source,” ABC reported Friday, citing multiple sources it did not identify.

The Santa Fe District Attorney’s on Thursday confirmed that it would drop the charges of involuntary manslaughter against Baldwin. At the time, the Los Angeles Times reported that the firearm had been “modified” in a way that could make it a hazard. Friday’s revelation took that a step further, and corroborates what Baldwin has been saying since telling ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that he did not pull the gun’s trigger.

“I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them, never,” Baldwin told Stephanopoulos in the wake of the shooting.

Prosecutors at first charged Baldwin with a firearms enhancement that carried a mandatory minimum five-year sentence. Under the most recent charges, a misdemeanor, Baldwin had faced 18 months in New Mexico jail.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film’s armorer, was also charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter over the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Prosecutors said Thursday that the charges against Gutierrez-Reed “remain unchanged.”

Messages left with Baldwin’s attorney and the district attorney’s office handling the case in New Mexico were not immediately returned Friday. “We are pleased with the decision to dismiss the case against Alec Baldwin and we encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic accident,” Baldwin’s lawyer said Thursday.