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[WATCH] Firearms Expert Casts Doubt on Accidental Discharge Theory in ‘Rust’ Shooting

Michael Hawthorne

SANTA FE, NM – Testimony by a renowned firearms expert in the trial of ‘Rust’ armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed has raised serious questions about the possibility of an accidental discharge of the firearm that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Lucian C. Haag, a leading expert in firearms reconstruction, took the stand to outline his analysis of the Colt single-action revolver used in the fatal incident. Haag presented detailed evidence showing significant damage to the gun’s firing mechanism, including the hammer, trigger sear, and cylinder stop latch.

He argued that this damage, which the FBI concluded occurred during testing, would have prevented the gun from reliably holding the full-cocked position necessary for firing. This directly contradicts claims that the gun could fire accidentally if dropped or jolted.

“The damaged hammer cannot stay cocked,” Haag testified. “If the hammer were to fall, it would be caught by a built-in safety mechanism.”

Haag also examined the ammunition recovered from the set. He noted a clear distinction between dummy rounds, intended for prop use, and the live rounds responsible for the tragedy. While the dummy rounds had a unique design, the live rounds were visually similar to commercially available ammunition.

To underscore his findings, Haag and his son presented video footage filmed at the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department. The video demonstrated how the damaged revolver would malfunction, even with some parts replaced for demonstration purposes.

The defence is expected to argue that the damage to the gun, inflicted during examination by the FBI, raises the possibility that the gun could have malfunctioned without its handler being aware.


Haag’s testimony challenges the initial narrative suggesting an accidental discharge could have occurred on the ‘Rust’ film set. It places greater scrutiny on how live ammunition found its way onto the set and into the hands of actor Alec Baldwin.


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