Alec Baldwin: ‘Well, the trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger’


In October, Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of Rust. There has been a lot of back-and-forth about whether it was a prop gun misfire, or a real gun with a real bullet, and the investigation is still ongoing. Alec issued a statement soon after the shooting, he met with Hutchins’ husband and son, and he’s cooperating with the authorities. For what it’s worth, I haven’t heard anything about Baldwin being charged with any crime. Most of the stories are about how the propmaster and armorer are at fault, and I would think the criminal charge would be criminal negligence. The Rust production was shut down and it will likely never restart. Baldwin has been taking time away from everything, but he decided to sit down with ABC News for an exclusive interview airing tonight. Here’s the promo:

The big headline is that Baldwin tells George Stephanopoulos that “Well, the trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger… I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them — never.” Meaning, it was reportedly a rehearsal and they were walking through the blocking of the scene, and Baldwin was holding the gun, but he didn’t pull the trigger. Meaning some kind of misfire or something wrong with the trigger of the gun. It wouldn’t surprise me.

Baldwin also pays tribute to Halyna as someone who was beloved and respected by everyone. Baldwin looks like he’s aged ten years in six weeks. His grief is palpable. Sure, he’s a great actor, but I do think he’s completely gutted.


Photos/screencaps courtesy of ABC News.

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88 Responses to “Alec Baldwin: ‘Well, the trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger’”

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  1. T3PO says:

    I cm see this being the kind of event that will stop him in random moments of his life daily and just haunt him. The whole thing is is tragic and I do hope it was a tragic accident with the trigger. All the same no real guns on set.

    • Jezz says:

      Time will hopefully heal his grief and guilt trauma. Would likely be thereputic and helpful to his future career if he became a spokesperson for gun safety/ lobby for zero tolerance for ammo on set. Like a law that insisted on CGI only blasts.

    • Case says:

      I don’t particularly like the guy and it’s clear there was a lot of safety misconduct on this set. But even so, this is someone who accidentally took another person’s life by mistake. It was a horrible accident that he’ll have to live with forever, and I really feel terrible for him. That would be an excruciating thing to live with.

    • Ravensdaughter says:

      He looks like hell. Yes, this will haunt him for the rest of his life.

      • smcollins says:

        The first thing I noticed in the still shots is the bags under his eyes. He looks like he hasn’t slept in weeks, which he probably hasn’t. I didn’t want to watch the promo but I might tune in for the the interview. Maybe. Or I might just read about it afterwards instead, it’s sure to be heartbreaking and hard to watch. So horrible for everyone involved, I can’t even imagine.

    • Barrett says:

      This is just horrible. Regardless of who is at fault – how do you get over it?

      I am surprised his PR people haven’t been stronger with him ab his wife, HILARIA, post happy family photos , fashion photos and cat photos all day. I just keep thinking isn’t this time to lay low. It does bother me for Halyna’s husband and little boy. Seems so off.

      • Schillit says:

        What’s wrong w America?? Guns just aren’t toys or status symbols- they are tools of death. That same weapon was allegedly used for “fun” target practice near the set on break- then this “mix up” occurred w live rounds. What more can any human endure? His wife’s marketing/identity went sour, and now this? It’s mostly the maga folks piling hate onto deep anguish. Guns/live ammo dominate our culture. How will this ever change???

  2. detritus says:

    Ok, but he also holds ultimate responsibility as a director (correction producer) to ensure safety on set.

    I can feel absolutely horribly for him and all of those impacted, but at the same time, where is the responsibility for encouraging the type of set culture that promotes accidents happening.

    • Mich says:

      He isn’t the director.

      • detritus says:

        Thank you, he’s the producer

        He still holds a huge amount of responsibility beyond his direct personal actions.

      • Elle says:

        He wasn’t the director, but a crew member gave an interview and said for intents and purposes, Alec was in fact the director and everyone looked to him for direction, while Joel Souza pretty much stood down.

        Same crew member said that Alec micro-managed everything on the set.

        As producer he was involved in the scheduling, budgeting and hiring of crew. Many Hollywood watchers have said that 21 days for a feature length project is one of the shortest, most hurried schedules they’ve ever seen.

        Plus, someone decided that the first armorer they tried to hire was too expensive (but very experienced, and that armorer said he wouldn’t do it without 2 assistants). The revolver wasn’t the only gun on set. They were supposed to do a whole shoot-out scene the next day (with two long guns). It’s horrifying to imagine what would have happened if live rounds had made their way into those guns too.

    • Case says:

      To me, depends on how involved he actually was as a producer. It’s EXTREMELY common for actors to be producers of their work in name only — Selena Gomez produced Only Murders in the Building, Tom Hiddleston produced Loki, but I don’t think they actually had a lot to do with their project’s productions. From what I understand, it’s a title thrown around quite a lot and doesn’t necessarily correlate with their level of involvement behind the scenes.

      • CE says:

        Not so. In order to get a producer credit, you need to provide some sort of financial investment of your own, in order to help produce the project. Someone like Alec on a project this small, absolutely would have invested in the production

      • KASalvy says:

        @CE No, you do not need to provide financial investment to be a producer. It’s one way to get that credit, but there’s a whole slew of other ways to get that credit

      • AmB says:

        @CE – right, financial involvement but not necessarily operational involvement.

    • KASalvy says:

      As someone who works in this industry, I can pretty much guarantee that he was getting a producer credit as a honorary credit. That’s done A LOT in this industry, but the PGA is starting to research who’s actually deserving of the credit (on the ground, working with crew, first in, last out legit producer) vs someone who gets the title as part of their deal memo (ie, actors, financeers, etc.)

    • Ravensdaughter says:

      Yes, he could be held criminally liable–and certainly civilly liable–as a producer.

  3. RoyalGirzWin says:

    That is right Alec; guns kill people, not people. Just like red SUVs kill people.

    Of course he pulled the trigger (accidentally or not), those types of guns don’t randomly go off. I hope it was just an accident, but he needs to admit that he screwed up and he is sorry. Any responsible person knows NEVER to point any gun at a person.

    • STRIPE says:

      This. It’s possible that he didn’t mean too and he doesn’t realize how little force it takes to fire a gun like that. It takes very little. It’s just semantics I suppose but that gun didn’t just fire on its own.

      Another example of a poorly controlled set – he should have been educated on the weapon, should have checked it himself, etc. all sorts of safety precautions were not followed, by him or the armorer.

      All that being said, my heart goes out to him. It’s very clear this was not intentional and I truly cannot imagine being in his shoes.

      • Ashley L. says:

        Since this happened so many people in the industry have talked about what an absolute no no it is for the actors to be checking guns themselves. I really want people to stop saying that he should have checked it himself. That is wrong. Its the armorers and/or the prop directors job to ensure that the gun is safe to use and hand it off to the actor. Aside from the issue of whether real weapons should be used on set, if they are being used, actors should absolutely not be inspecting a gun or somehow disassembling it to make sure it is not loaded. That is not their responsibility and should not be and makes the set more dangerous.

      • STRIPE says:

        Perhaps I was unclear – true ,it is not the actors job to ensure weapon safety – that is the armorers job. What I mean is like what George Clooney brought up – he adds the additional measure of checking himself, showing to someone else, firing into the ground etc.

        I also speak from experience growing up with guns. You ALWAYS check yourself – I would never, *EVER* just take someones word for it that a gun is unloaded, or that its filled with blanks (as opposed to live rounds). This is gun safety 101. You have to be a little ridiculous with the safety precautions you take, but it’s life or death if you dont.

      • windyriver says:

        @Ashley L – have read the same thing, and it makes sense. Said the same thing on the Clooney article. Basically, if the actor opens the gun to inspect themselves after it’s been handed over, it compromises the safety protocols followed by the armorer and prop people, because potentially those actions could have changed something set up by the experienced weapon handlers, and create an unexpected danger.

        Makes more sense for the actor to request the armorer open the gun in their presence and confirm what’s in there and explain how it’s set up.

      • STRIPE says:

        @windydyriver – What you described would count as the actor checking for themselves.

        Whether that be physically doing it OR asking the armorer to do it in your presence, it should be done, one set or in the real world – because Alec is the one who was handling a gun that shot and killed someone. “Well the armorer should have checked!” isnt helping him sleep better right now.

      • windyriver says:

        @STRIPE – my point is, actors should NOT be physically checking the gun themselves (which sounded like what Clooney has done), for the reasons described above. And, as Ashley L commented, I’ve also read several articles where professionals have stated the same thing, for similar reasons.

        That said, I would personally insist the professional on set discuss and demonstrate to me everything going on with the set up of any weapon, along with specifics about how that weapon should be handled for the safety of everyone in the vicinity.

    • Mich says:

      According to reports, the gun had multiple accidental discharges in the week leading up to the day that turned fatal. It was clearly dangerous and should have been removed from set the first time it happened.

      Are you saying he should have refused to follow directions on set? They were lining up a shot where the camera focuses in on the gun. The direction called for the gun to be pointed towards the camera. The same type of visual appears in countless movies. Hopefully, it will be done in CGI moving forward.

      Maybe your real issue is with the director who set up the visual? Of course, the live round also hit him. So that is complicated.

      Maybe your ire, or at least some of it, should be directed towards the idiot who put live freaking rounds in a prop gun? Or maybe the armorer who didn’t properly check it? Or the assistant director who also didn’t properly check it but told Baldwin that it was safe to use? Only after those two handled the gun did it get to Baldwin…who also didn’t check that it was safe to use. How about the full production team and the set manager who, as a group, failed to ensure safety rules and regulations were followed on set?

    • Jezz says:

      If your JOB is to point the prop gun at the camera/fellow actor for a movie, how can you fall back on “never point a gun at a person”?

      • Sid says:

        George Clooney came out and talked about this, explaining the proper procedure is that the actor also checks the gun when it is handed to them, as the final step before the scene starts. And that would explain why in the decades since Brandon Lee was killed, we haven’t heard about this sort of death happening on the set of a Hollywood production even though there have been tons of movies made using lots of guns in that time. So the question is why were so many on this movie set so sloppy, including Alec?

    • Mac says:

      Accidental discharges happen every day in America. Like any other machine, guns have fail points and weaknesses.

      • STRIPE says:

        True but no gun discharges if the trigger isn’t moved. Period. In the same way that cars just don’t spontaneously start.

        There’s a weapons expert on TMZ who goes over this (specifically talking about this gun and then guns in general) really well. Highly recommend everyone watch for context.

      • BeanieBean says:

        Cars do spontaneously start; I’ve heard a few discussions on Car Talk about that.

      • STRIPE says:

        @beaniebean LOL good to know. Bad analogy on my part!

        I will just say then that to my knowledge, I have never heard of a gun going off without the trigger being moved. The weapons specialist interviewed TMZ said the same

      • STRIPE says:

        Thanks for sharing this – This is what I meant above by “semantics” – like it’s very possible he didn’t “pull the trigger” in the sense that we all think, but even slight pressure change could have been enough.

        But overall, this should not have happened because the weapon should have been handled, protected, and checked better by all involved, including Alec.

  4. OriginalLala says:

    It’s an absolutely horrible situation, but everyone in positions of power on this set has so far refused to take responsibility for what seems like a very unsafe set, including those crew/cast members that were using the prop guns for target practice with live rounds

  5. LaUnicaAngelina says:

    He definitely looks like he’s aged a great deal. This is extremely sad all the way around.

  6. Doodle says:

    I flip flop on how I feel about this. I believe he feels terrible. I believe it was truly an accident and he feels horrible, and I believe he is ultimately a pacifist who hates guns. I wobble on how much responsibility he has as the producer – if it’s anything like every company I’ve worked for the head honchos no nothing about what’s actually happening on the lower levels because they have too many yes men around. On paper he bears responsibility, in actuality did he actually know how bad things were?

  7. grabbyhands says:

    I can’t stand Alec Baldwin, but that isn’t the face of someone trying to deflect blame. That is someone whose grief and shock and guilt is desperately trying find an explanation for what happened, because the reality is too painful to face.

    There is a lot of blame to spread for this, but I don’t buy that he was just being an asshole knowingly waving a loaded gun around. Maybe actual evidence will tell a different story later, but right now, no.

    Having said that, what PR person/legal counsel in their right mind would just let him do interviews like this while an investigation is still ongoing?

  8. Soni says:

    Listen, Alec is a shit person, but he’s clearly traumatized. He accidentally killed someone he cared about. He needs to just not talk and hole up for a while away from the public (and his wife probably).

    • Emma says:

      I agree. The only reason for this interview is ego / PR. He should be focusing on healing and on trying to support the poor bereaved family as much as he can or the family will accept. We do not need this interview so soon after a tragedy because I really don’t think we need to hear about “oh poor Alec crying and looking sad,” like… he is not the one who lost his spouse and his child/ren’s mother. He killed a woman, a wife, a mother, took her away too young. Yes, he needs to process what happened — privately. The media needs to focus on gun safety / set safety in this country but of course the Republicans will never allow that.

      • BeanieBean says:

        Ali & George are personal friends of Alex & Hilaria, so I’m guessing that’s why he agreed to the interview.

      • Dino says:

        I don’t agree with you Emma, just because he’s not the one who lost a wife or mother doesn’t disregard his grief and trauma from this event, you can’t compare pain or trauma experiences, I hate when people do this…

        So I don’t have the right to suffer from micro aggressions that I was raised with, many many small things over a long period of time because there are other people who have been beaten mercilessly? Nope, sorry, check your thinking on this one my friend – even though Alec ‘himself’ said multiple times int he interview that he doesn’t want people to think of him as a victim and that it’s all about the husband and son, he IS a victim, he has been traumatized, and like him or not he’s a person who feels a great deal of pain over this, and after seeing the show I’m convinced he’s still in shock and terrible grief.

        I just think too many people are quick to judge ‘oh I would have done this, or I would have done that’… sure upon reflection of a terrible tragedy, we would all like to think we would know or act better than to lead to that kind of ACCIDENT but c’mon, if there are experts around, and if you’re being told you could compromise the safety of the gun by opening it yourself, among a hundred other things that could be reflected upon to do differently or use a teaching moment for the future, we all just need to be compassionate for EVERYONE that experienced trauma that day and since, not just the father and son.

  9. Bettyrose says:

    I’m so confused. A live round was bizarrely loaded into a “prop” gun under still undetermined circumstances and that same gun was fired without anyone pulling the trigger?

    • AmB says:

      @Bettyrose – this is all starting to sound a little JFK-ish in the parsing, isn’t it?

      • bettyrose says:

        Ha! I hadn’t thought of it that way, and I sure as hell hope we get more actual answers than the JFK situation has ever produced, but yeah, the vagueness is familiar.

      • terra says:

        Sounds more like splitting hairs and relying on technicalities. That’s more Clintonian than anything, isn’t it?

  10. K-Peace says:

    He’s just acting. He hasn’t been grieving whatsoever in the past 6 weeks. In fact, he & (especially) his crazy, horrible wife have been gallivanting around, posting all their “happy family” boastful photos all over Instagram, rubbing salt in the wound of Halyna’s family and even taunting Halyna’s poor widower & their 9-year-old son.

    I’m a member of the Hilaria Baldwin subreddit, and i just can’t adequately express how crazy, fraudulent, & narcissistic Alec & Hilary are. They’re two of the most horrible people i’ve ever heard of. The subreddit is fascinating.—All the stuff they/we have uncovered about these two grifters is mindblowing. NOTHING is what it really appears on the surface, with these two.

    • 123Qwerty says:

      I’m perplexed at why people would form a group to find things out about some people they don’t like? Especially people they don’t know.

      • Case says:

        It’s rampant on the internet (groups about movies people can collectively rant about, celebrities they hate, etc.) and I also don’t get the appeal. Too much negative energy for me.

      • CJ says:

        It’s part of a “tabloid industry that conditions people to be cruel.” That’s a quote from the Sussex’s statement about winning their case against the Daily Mail. Every entity publishing negative speculation about people should think about what they are actually doing. It’s unethical and cruel the kind of “gossip” posted on this site.

      • Emma says:

        Because people would rather know the truth than be spoon fed lies by publicists?

      • Sass says:

        Mmmmmmmm. Because its FUN! And fairly harmless besides being a timewaster.

    • Angie says:

      AGREE K-peace. People need to go check out that subreddit if they want to really understand how that family has been dealing with this tragedy. Hilary from Boston has been rubbing this in the face of the Hutchins family this whole time and being so inappropriate on social media. He could stop her but he doesn’t. So, I have to believe he is complicit. I save my sympathy for the real victim.

      • AmelieOriginal says:

        Who knows what Alec Baldwin thinks of his wife’s social media antics. My guess is prior to the accident he let her do her thing because it made her happy and while she was extra and annoying and lying to the world about her family background, it kept her busy. Short of taking her phone away and personally deleting her account himself, I’m not sure what he can do to make her stop posting. It would be considered abusive and controlling if he did that forcefully and he’s pretty self aware of his ugly temper, Hilary would immediately let the world know if he did that sort of thing. He could have a conversation with her but my guess he is too wrapped up in his own grief and trauma to really bother trying to get his wife to stop posting to social media. I wouldn’t be surprised if this event is the trigger to their eventual divorce. He is going to be depressed and disturbed about this for a long time, Hilary is probably going to want him to “snap out of it” at some point (because this is not the kind of event you just get over, it haunts you for the rest of your life) and when that doesn’t happen, they will get divorced. Also I am not defending either one, I am not a fan of Alec or Hilary Baldwin, but a spouse can’t control their significant other on social media at all times. I’ve seen the same thing happen in my own family with a family member being extremely rude and toxic on social media and the whole family choosing to overlook it.

      • mahcat says:

        I’m just astounded their lawyers and reputation management people haven’t told her to shut down the social media mania. It is not reading well with people. If she just wants a social media presence to communicate with friends and family she could do a finsta or just set to private. Why does she still need to post SO much each day?

    • NorthernGirl_20 says:

      Reddit has a lot of false stuff on it, not to mention exaggerations I wouldn’t believe half the things you see on there.

    • Soni says:

      You seem like a psycho.

    • Sinead says:

      I’ve seen the HB subreddit and they talk a lot of sh1t about Meghan on there too. They compare her to HB and perpetuate lies about her it’s awful!

    • Krystina says:

      I love how you think Reddit = truth, lol

  11. equality says:

    There are plenty of ways to make a gun safe and also fake guns that look very real, especially for a movie where the appearance can be edited. No need at all to use real bullets or even real guns.

  12. 123Qwerty says:

    It’s so easy to think the worst of people based on incomplete information. We should let this play out.

  13. Lucy says:

    He might’ve squeezed the trigger though. If it had been accidentally misfiring in the week leading up to this, then maybe it really did misfire out of nowhere. I don’t like Alex, and misfires like that are rare enough that I think he’s saying that to sleep at night.

    A kid I knew in high school accidentally shot his younger sister during a duck hunt. She moved to somewhere unexpected (they were sitting on blinds on the water), and it killed her. Alex’s face looks a lot what I remember his looking like.

    I dunno, this whole thing is awful. I have a lot more blame for the two people who handed him the gun and said it was safe. Their whole job was keeping this stuff checked and safe.

    The 23 year old armorer was also the prop master or assistant, which is apparently a major no no. So they overloaded an inexperienced kid, and the assistant director who has a history of ignoring safety didn’t check the gun either.

  14. CC says:

    Because the term “pull the trigger” is technically inaccurate and one squeezes the trigger of a modern firearm? That seems to be the level of his argument.

  15. AmelieOriginal says:

    I have to wonder why he is doing this interview right now. The situation is still very raw and fresh and Halyna’s family hasn’t done an interview themselves beyond a few heartbreaking posts to Instagram from her husband I believe. I get he wants to get “his side” of the story out there but I have to wonder about the timing, is there something big about to be revealed about the incident? I’m sure Alec is deeply traumatized about this and it haunts him every day but I was really surprised to see him do a major interview about this so soon.

    • Sid says:

      He and his people have been on a PR push to save his reputation beginning with the release of those crystal clear paparazzi pictures showing him on the phone upset in the parking lot after speaking with the police about the shooting. I find it gross.

    • Twin falls says:

      It seems way too soon and that headline quote is just bad.

    • BeanieBean says:

      George & Ali are friends with Alex & Hilaria, that may have something to do with it. It may be a ‘get’ for George.

  16. Queen Meghan’s Hand says:

    I can’t with this horrible man being given such a long leash to distort facts. I can’t with so many people running to the defense of an ostensibly awful person (probably because he is white; no one rightfully has sympathy for Travis Scott)
    Baldwin has been spending time posting screenshots to his IG from another former employee (costumer) refuting that the set was disorganized and chaotic. Then He and his wife had an impromptu press conference where he again spewed lies.
    And now, this. It’s disgusting.
    The gun did not go off by itself, he was not following industry best practices, the filming was moving too quickly and one person died and another injured. As more details are revealed to the public, it becomes clearer that this is a labor issue—unsafe working conditions—not an inexplicable tragic accident.
    Shame on Baldwin for doing an interview. I am beyond disgusted.

  17. LadySwampwitchGivsneaufux says:

    He is also apparently 5 years older than it says online. He’s 68 not 63 and he looks it,

  18. tealily says:

    I have sympathy for how hard it must be to make such a grave mistake on the job, but this interview seems unnecessary and irresponsible while investigations are still going on.

  19. Chrissyms says:

    The legal system will come to a conclusion about his culpability in civil and criminal arenas. I watched the clip of this interview and he is clearly devastated. I don’t believe he is acting at all. I feel a great deal of sympathy for him. He didn’t wake up that morning and intend for this to happen. I hope he is talking to a counselor.

  20. why? says:

    This interview was not necessary and claiming that he didn’t pull the trigger when it’s obvious he did because one person was killed and another was injured is wrong. It’s like he felt the need to “clear” his name because his wife wants to continue her child hoarding and cultural appropriation grift in the public eye. He should have kept quiet.

    • 123Qwerty says:

      I know you don’t like him, but why wouldn’t someone want to clear their name?

      • why? says:

        I never said that I didn’t like Alec. My support for him changed with his drunken rant against his first child, child hoarding with his second wife, parking spot fist fights, and standing by while his wife went on a cultural appropriation grift for years.

        Clearing his name would be different had he not claimed that he never pulled the trigger. He isn’t taking responsibility for his actions and it looks like Alec and all the higher ups working on Rust(the director that released a statement supporting Alec’s claim that he didn’t pull the trigger) are setting the stage so that all the people with titles below them will take the fall. This interview was nothing more than attempt to clear his name so that his wife can announce that they added another child to their family, there was a reason why she wrote that social media post about how she had a challenging year. That is wrong. He should have just stayed quiet.

  21. 123Qwerty says:

    Seems there is some witness confirmation that Baldwin did not pull the trigger on ET by the attorney of the AD.

  22. Lunasf17 says:

    Ya I don’t buy he didn’t pull the trigger. I think he is trying to protect his assets and try and come up with this misfire lie. I’ve heard rumors he is transferring properties to his vile wife to try and protect their money. Him and his white wife from Boston (the one that claimed to be a Latina from Spain because her rich family vacationed them and she claimed Spain was “her culture”) are worried about their money. Hillary and Alec are only worried about themselves. I hope the victims family gets justice.

  23. Willow says:

    Is he trying to influence future jurors/judges with these interviews?

    • Jenn says:

      No, I think his deepest fear, which motivates ALL his actions, is never working in movies again. He’s clear at the start of the interview that the investigation is ongoing, but we won’t know anything until February, and that’s just too long to let people speculate — about him, or about the situation. People remember the first thing they believe. (I don’t think there’s any world in which he’ll be charged.)

  24. Coco says:

    I think Alex is very devastated by what happened and that his interview is just PR. I’m sure he is being heavily influence by both his lawyers and PR person.

    Like I said before Hillary has no empathy for anyone, but herself and could care less about the women that died for her family. She not going to stop posting happy family pictures and not get the attention she wants because someone died .

    • Ange says:

      I feel like Hillary is probably not helping matters at all, she’s clearly awful in a crisis.

  25. Mimi says:

    I feel so awful for everyone involved. Her family, they lost a mother and wife, her parents lost a daughter. And I feel badly for Alec who will always be haunted by this horrible accident.

  26. Joy says:

    Depending on the gun, you don’t need to fully “pull” a trigger to make a gun fire. Plenty of guns, especially a single-action style like what might be used in a movie set that was a Western, require a VERY light touch to fire. So he maybe didn’t pull the trigger per se but if he had a light trigger gun in his hand and had his finger barely on there, it could have gone off

  27. JRenee says:

    On going open investigation, inappropriate timing for interview. I do believe he’s got wrenched about this and not acting.
    My heart aches for her family and all of the unanswered questions they must have…

  28. Jenn says:

    I’m not a gun expert but, yeah, I can imagine that an exacting replica of an antique gun could discharge if you were fiddling with the real working hammer, pulling it too far back, etc. I mean, the gun was broken — that much is already certain! — and I have to imagine that this fact was concealed from Baldwin deliberately. I think they concealed it was a dangerous set, for fear he would freak out and bail on the project himself.