Actor Alec Baldwin will face charges in connection with the October 2021 shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie “Rust.”
New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and Special Prosecutor Andrea Reeb issued a statement Thursday morning announcing their decision.
Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter, as will armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. Assistant director David Halls has agreed to plead guilty to a charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon.
“If any one of these three people — Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez Reed or David Halls — had done their job, Halyna Hutchins would be alive today. It’s that simple,” Reeb said in a statement. “The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ film set. In New Mexico, there is no room for film sets that don’t take our state’s commitment to gun safety and public safety seriously.”
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will each face two charges of involuntary manslaughter.
“The first charge can be referred to simply as involuntary manslaughter,” Carmack-Altwies said in a statement. “For this charge to be proved there must be underlying negligence. Under New Mexico law, involuntary manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony and is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. This charge also includes the misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a firearm, which would likely merge as a matter of law.
“The other charge is involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act. This charge requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death. This is also a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.
“This charge includes a firearm enhancement, or added mandatory penalty because a firearm was involved. The firearm enhancement makes the crime punishable by a mandatory five years in jail.”
Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was injured when a gun Baldwin was holding fired in the Oct. 21, 2021, incident that took place during the filming of the Western outside Santa Fe, New Mexico.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office deputies believe Gutierrez-Reed, who had responsibility for all firearms on the set, loaded the gun from a box that had live rounds mixed with fake ones. Halls later said the gun was “cold,” before he handed the .45 caliber revolver used in the shooting to Baldwin.
Last year, state officials in New Mexico fined the producers of the movie for negligence in handling firearms on the set.
Baldwin has denied that he ever pulled the trigger.
“Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property. Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me,” he told ABC News.
“The trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger,” he said.
“I cock the gun. I go, ‘Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?’” Baldwin said. “And then I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun goes off. I let go of the hammer of the gun, the gun goes off.”
“So, you never pulled the trigger?” interviewer George Stephanopoulos asked him.
“No, no, no, no, no. I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them,” Baldwin said.
A civil lawsuit filed last year by the family of Hutchins alleged that the film violated multiple safety rules, according to Insider.
“Defendant Baldwin and the other Defendants in this case failed to perform industry standard safety checks and follow basic gun safety rules while using real guns to produce the movie Rust, with fatal consequences,” the lawsuit said.
“Halyna Hutchins deserved to live, and the Defendants had the power to prevent her death if they had only held sacrosanct their duty to protect the safety of every individual on a set where firearms were present instead of cutting corners on safety procedures where human lives were at stake, rushing to stay on schedule and ignoring numerous complaints of safety violations.”
The suit said basic safety rules were blatantly disregarded.
Defendants “breached the most basic rules of firearm use on a film production,” the lawsuit said.
That breach included “always treating a gun as it were loaded, keeping a gun unloaded unless it is necessary to load it for a scene, and always keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction, among others,” Insider reported.
The suit was settled in October, CNN reported.
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