The circumstances of what led to the gun being fired are still under investigation. What we do know is that at one point in the rehearsal, the supposed prop gun fired off one live round of ammunition. The bullet struck Rust director Joel Souza and cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Souza survived his injuries, but tragically, Hutchins died from her gunshot wounds at a nearby hospital.
In his first interview since the deadly incident with ABC News, Baldwin told George Stephanopoulos that he didn't pull the trigger during the fatal rehearsal. "I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them, never," he said. Naturally, Baldwin's statement has led to many people asking the same question: Is it possible for a gun to fire without the trigger being pulled?
Can a gun actually go off without the trigger being pulled?
Let's refer to actual firearms experts to answer this question. Sante Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza told Fox News Digital, "Guns don't just go off... So whatever needs to happen to manipulate the firearm, he [Baldwin] did that and it was in his hands." Weapons armorer Bryan W. Carpenter reiterated Mendoza's statement in the same report.
"In order to make it fire, you have to put your thumb up onto the hammer, cock the hammer all the way back, and then as the hammer is completely cocked back, then you pull the trigger and then the gun fires.... That gun had to have [a] two-step process to fire. It had to be cocked and the trigger pulled to fire," he said.
Carpenter noted that a prop revolver like the one Baldwin had on set would've likely had a lighter trigger in comparison to modern handguns, making the trigger easier to pull. "Once you cock the hammer back on one of those old west guns, it doesn't take a lot to set that trigger off," he explained.
The script supervisor for 'Rust' has claimed Baldwin did pull the trigger.
Mamie Mitchell was the script supervisor for Rust. She has filed a lawsuit against Baldwin and the film's producers. What's key is that the suit alleges that Baldwin did fire the trigger. Mitchell was the first crew member to call 911 after the shooting. She is being represented by Gloria Allred.
In a new statement, Allred alleged that "Alec Baldwin intentionally, without just cause or excuse, cocked and fired the loaded gun even though the upcoming scene to be filmed did not call for the cocking and firing of the firearm."
Rust's lighting director Serge Svetnoy has also filed a lawsuit and named Baldwin as one of the defendants, according to a report from The Guardian. Svetnoy was on set during the fatal shooting, and held Hutchins in his arms after she was shot. Svetnoy's suit alleges that the deadly bullet narrowly missed him by inches.
Let's not forget the real victims in this tragic story.
In the teaser clip for Baldwin's interview with ABC News, he states that the Rust shooting has unequivocally been the worst thing that's ever happened to him. Baldwin's claims that he never pulled the trigger are still part of the larger ongoing investigation into the shooting.
Let us not forget the real victims of this tragedy: the talented Halyna Hutchins and her family, who are left to grieve over a death that should never have occurred.