Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ shooting: Where the investigation stands one year later

It’s been one year since cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot on the set of “Rust” in New Mexico.

Halyna died when a gun Alec Baldwin was holding fired, while practicing a scene on the New Mexico movie set Oct. 21, 2021. The group had been rehearsing in a small church on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set.

Baldwin has maintained that he did not pull the trigger of the gun – once during a prime-time interview shortly after the shooting and again on a recent podcast episode. The actor originally said he had pulled the hammer of the gun back as far as he could and released it.


Here’s a look at where the investigation stands after one year:

The civil suit has been settled, but the criminal investigation into the “Rust” shooting is ongoing. The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department has been focused on how live ammo made it onto the set.

The department spent time interviewing all the witnesses involved, including Baldwin, armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed and more. Additionally, the sheriff’s department enlisted a few third parties to help.

The gun used in the shooting was sent to the FBI to be tested. The office released the FBI forensics report, which determined that the gun used in the fatal shooting “could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger.”

The test showed that when the .45 Colt caliber F.lli Pietta single-action revolver’s hammer 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 made to fire without a pull of the trigger while the working internal components were intact and functional.”

The sheriff’s office also received the New Mexico’s Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI) report. The report ruled the “Rust” shooting an accident.

“The critical report is the one from the medical examiner, who concluded that this was a tragic accident,” Baldwin attorney Luke Nikas told Fox News Digital. “This is the third time the New Mexico authorities have found that Alec Baldwin had no authority or knowledge of the allegedly unsafe conditions on the set, that he was told by the person in charge of safety on the set that the gun was ‘cold,’ and believed the gun was safe.”

Once Alec Baldwin’s cell phone records are obtained, and the official OMI and forensic reports are reviewed, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s investigative case will be sent to the district attorney for review and, ultimately, final charging decisions.

The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department is currently reviewing the case file for a final time, according to the office’s spokesperson, Juan Rios.

“The Rust investigation case file is under final review by the sheriff’s office before it will be submitted to the Santa Fe district attorney,” Rios told Fox News Digital. “We have no set date as to when this will occur. Beyond this information, our agency has no further comment.”


New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies named Baldwin specifically in her request for emergency funding to prosecute the case. The DA further claimed she anticipates prosecuting up to four people who were on the set at Bonanza Creek Ranch. 

“The ‘Rust’ prosecution could be potentially be prosecutions from one (1) to four (4) defendants,” Carmack-Altwies wrote in paperwork filed for an emergency grant. “One of the possible defendants is well-known movie actor Alec Baldwin.”

However, the decision about who will be criminally charged cannot be made until the DA has received the sheriff’s department’s final investigative report. 

“The District Attorney is still awaiting the final report from the Santa Fe County Sheriff,” the Santa Fe District Attorney’s office spokesperson, Heather, Brewer told Fox News Digital. 

“Once the District Attorney receives the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s full report, she and her team of professional attorneys and investigators can begin their careful review of all of the materials provided. As with any other case she handles, the District Attorney’s focus will be on upholding the integrity of the process and ensuring that this investigation is held to the highest standards.”


A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Alec Baldwin and other key members of the production on Feb. 15. 

The lawsuit named Baldwin and others who “are responsible for the safety on the set” and called out “reckless behavior and cost-cutting” that led to the death of Hutchins, according to the family’s lawyer.

Matthew Hutchins’ attorneys interviewed witnesses before filing and created a video compiling evidence for the wrongful death lawsuit. In the video shared at a press conference, Matthew’s lawyers reiterated claims from crew members that the “Rust” set was unsafe. The lawsuit claimed that Baldwin, who was also a producer on the film, and other “Rust” crew and cast committed “major breaches” of safety on the set.

The family sued for punitive damages and funeral and burial expenses among other things originally to be determined at trial.

However, on Oct. 5, Halyna’s husband announced 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 that settlement, our case will be dismissed,” Matthew Hutchins said in a statement to Fox News Digital through his attorney Brian Panish of Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP.

“The filming of ‘Rust,’ which I will now executive produce, will resume with all the original principal players on board in January 2023. I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin). All of us believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna’s final 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 case filed on behalf of the family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins,” Baldwin captioned a screenshot of an article. “Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained the specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son. We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation.”


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 scouting locations but confirmed that the cast and crew will not return to New Mexico, where Halyna’s death occurred.

“The production of ‘Rust’ will not return to New Mexico,” Melina Spadone, attorney for Rust Movie Productions LLC, told Fox News Digital on Wednesday. “The production is considering other locations, including in California, but no decisions have been made.”

Although it hasn’t been confirmed whether Baldwin will re-join the production, Matthew’s initial announcement claimed the production would resume with “original principal players.”

Fox News Digital’s Janelle Ash contributed to this report.


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