‘Rust’ Assistant Director Supports Alec Baldwin

by Josh Lanier

The man accused of handing Alec Baldwin the gun that killed Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust said the actor never pulled the trigger. This matches what Baldwin will tell George Stephanopoulos tonight in his first television interview since the deadly shooting on the set of the movie Rust in October.

The attorney for Rust assistant director Dave Halls told ABC News that Baldwin’s finger was never on the trigger. Attorney Lisa Torraco called the shooting a “freak, awful accident.”

“Dave has told me since the very first day I met him that Alec did not pull that trigger,” Torraco told ABC News. “The entire time, Baldwin had his finger outside the trigger guard, parallel to the barrel. … [Halls] told me since day one that he thought it was a misfire. It was a pure accident — freak, awful accident [that] unfortunately killed somebody.”

Alec Baldwin told Stephanopoulos in a preview clip from tonight’s interview that he would “never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them, never.” The hour-long interview airs tonight at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.

According to police reports, Halls handed Alec Baldwin the antique .45 revolver and told him it was a “cold gun,” meaning it wasn’t loaded with live ammunition. Moments later, it went off and killed cinematographer Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza.

Halls admitted to police that he didn’t thoroughly inspect the gun despite telling Baldwin it was safe. His attorney Torraco has disputed this chain of events and said that inspecting the weapon wasn’t his responsibility. She says Rust‘s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed loaded the gun and should have checked it.

An attorney for Gutierrez-Reed said she’s not sure how a live round ended up on the movie set.

New Mexico Sheriff: ‘Gun Just Don’t Go Off’

Weapons experts and law enforcement officials are dubious of the claim that the gun went off on its own. Santa Fe Sheriff Adan Mendoza, whose department is investigating the shooting, told Fox News that the story doesn’t add up.

“Guns don’t just go off,” he said. “So whatever needs to happen to manipulate the firearm, he did that and it was in his hands.”

Weapons armorer Bryan W. Carpenter added that while misfires can happen, they’re rare.

“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,” Carpenter said. “So, that’s very important because that gun had to have a two-step process to fire. It had to be cocked, and the trigger pulled to fire.”

Rust armorer Gutierrez-Reed told police that the gun was on the set all day without issue. When she handed it off the hammer wasn’t cocked.