Alec Baldwin to be charged over fatal shooting on Rust set

alec baldwin attends the world premiere of national geographic documentary films' 'the first wave' at hamptons international film festival on october 07, 2021 in east hampton, new york
Alec Baldwin to be charged over fatal shootingMark Sagliocco - Getty Images

Alec Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter over the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins.

In October 2021, cinematographer Hutchins was tragically killed on the set of Western movie Rust by a live round fired by Baldwin from a prop gun.

According to the BBC, Hannah-Gutierrez Reed, the film's armourer, will also be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter – one count means they both face up to 18 months in jail as well as a fine of over £4000 if found guilty, whilst the other more serious count of involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act could result in 5 years imprisonment.

halyna hutchins
Mat Hayward - Getty Images

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Santa Fe's District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said in a statement: "Actor and producer Alec Baldwin and armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will each be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. I have determined that there is sufficient evidence. On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice."

Baldwin was both an actor and producer on the set, and so will be charged for the act of shooting the gun and for considerations of the overall safety of the set.

Baldwin's attorney, Luke Nikas, said in a statement (via Deadline): "This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins' tragic death and represents 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. 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,"

Meanwhile, Gutierrez-Reed's attorneys, Jason Bowles and Todd J. Bullion, said: "Hannah is, and has always been, very emotional and sad about this tragic accident. But she did not commit involuntary manslaughter. These charges are the result of a very flawed investigation, and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts. We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury."

Director Joel Souza was also wounded in the shooting, however no charges have been filed in connection to his injuries.

alec baldwin
Roy Rochlin - Getty Images

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In response to the announcement charges are being brought, Hutchins' family released a statement: "We want to thank the Santa Fe Sheriff and the District Attorney for concluding their thorough investigation and determining that charges for involuntary manslaughter are warranted for the killing of Halyna Hutchins with conscious disregard for human life. Our independent investigation also supports charges are warranted.

"It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law. We support the charges, will fully cooperate with this prosecution, and fervently hope the justice system works to protect the public and hold accountable those who break the law."

In October 2022, it was announced that Rust would resume production in January 2023 following a settlement with Hutchins' family, which included Hutchins being credited as an executive producer on the movie.

Though the settlement originally meant a case of wrongful death against the producers of Rust would be dismissed, a review of the evidence, particularly the fact live and dummy rounds of ammunition were mixed together, has led to the charges being made.

Carmack-Altwies added (via CNN): "An actor does not get a free pass just because they are an actor. That is what is so important. We are saying here in New Mexico, that everyone is equal under the law."

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