According to authorities in New Mexico, actor and producer Alec Baldwin is being charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the fatal shooting in 2021 on the set of the Western movie “Rust.” Involuntary manslaughter is another complaint against Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer in charge of the set’s weaponry.
During a practice, Baldwin was holding a gun when it went off, killing Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer.
“After a thorough review of the evidence and the laws of the state of New Mexico, I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the ‘Rust’ film crew,” District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said in a statement released Thursday morning. “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”
On October 21, 2021, Hutchins was shot while setting up for a scene at the property outside of Santa Fe. Hutchins was killed, and director Joel Souza was injured when Baldwin’s revolver went off as he aimed it at Hutchins.
Two counts of involuntary manslaughter, a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to one year and a half in prison and a $5,000 fine, are brought against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed. Because the crime was committed with a gun, the charges include a clause that might result in a mandatory five-year prison sentence.
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Both charges are related to the shooting of Hutchins, according to Carmack-Altwies. When someone is killed while acting recklessly or carelessly while engaging in a legal but dangerous activity, it may be considered involuntary manslaughter. Regarding the shooting of Souza, no charges have been brought.
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According to Carmack-Altwies, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will receive a summons to appear in court, who also stated that charges would be filed before the end of January. She said that in place of a grand jury, prosecutors would rely on a judge to decide if sufficient evidence exists to proceed to trial.
Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, referred to the accusations as “a terrible miscarriage of justice.”
“Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set,” Nikas said. “He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win.”
Attorneys for Gutierrez-Reed said she did not intentionally cause death and described the incident as a “tragic accident.”
“These charges are the result of a very flawed investigation and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts,” Jason Bowles and Todd Bullion said in a statement. “We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury.”
Carmack-Altwies also disclosed a plea arrangement with assistant director David Halls for a charge of careless use of a deadly weapon in addition to the counts. Halls will complete a suspended sentence and a year of probation per the deal.
“If any of these three people — Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, or David Halls — had done their job, Halyna Hutchins would be alive today,” Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor appointed to the case, said in a statement. “It’s that simple.”
The Hutchins family, which includes son Andros and widower Matthew Hutchins, expressed gratitude to the police for pressing the accusations.
The fact that no one is above the law in New Mexico is consoling to the family, said spokesperson Brian Panish. “We truly hope the legal system works to safeguard the public and bring those who break the law accountable,” the statement reads. “We support the charges and will cooperate with this case.”
A settlement reached between the family and the producers calls for the resumption of filming, with Matthew serving as executive producer.
Hutchins’ death was initially investigated by Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza, who noted “a degree of carelessness” on the set. However, after handing the findings of a one-year probe to prosecutors in October, he deferred to their judgment regarding any potential criminal charges. That report omitted information on how to live ammo ended up on the movie set.
Alec Baldwin has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting and killing of Halyna Hutchins.
Baldwin is accused of firing the weapon that killed the young woman in the prime of her life.
He faces up to 18 months in prison.
— David Hookstead (@dhookstead) January 19, 2023
Carmack-Altwies was granted her emergency $300,000 request for the state to pay for a special prosecutor, special investigator, and other specialists and professionals after taking over the probe.
Hutchins’ death was called a “tragic accident” by Baldwin, who is well-known for his appearances in “30 Rock” and “The Hunt for Red October” as well as his portrayal of former President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.”
He sued those responsible for handling and providing the loaded rifle given to him on set to clear his name. The pistol was believed to be safe, according to Baldwin, who is also a co-producer on “Rust.”
In his lawsuit, Baldwin said that when he and Hutchins were practicing camera angles for a scene, he pointed the gun in her direction, pulled back, and let go of the trigger, causing the rifle to go off.