Rust shooting: Alec Baldwin charged with involuntary manslaughter over fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins

The 64-year-old actor is one of three cast and crew criminally charged over the October 2021 fatal shooting

Bevan Hurley
Thursday 19 January 2023 17:00 GMT
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Police bodycam shows Alec Baldwin moments after Rust shooting
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Alec Baldwin has been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the Rust movie set.

Baldwin, 64, is one of three cast and crew members facing charges over the accidental October 2021 shooting, New Mexico first judicial district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced on Thursday.

First assistant director David Halls has agreed to plead guilty to the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon.

The film’s armourer Hannah Gutierrez Reed has also been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting.

Each charge carries a maximum of 18 months in prison.

In a statement, Ms Carmack-Altwies said: “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. On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”

Andrea Reeb, a special prosecutor appointed by the DA to the case, said that the evidence showed a “pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the set of Rust film set”.

“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,” she said. “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.”

District attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies has announced involuntary manslaughter charges against Alec Baldwin (file photo)
District attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies has announced involuntary manslaughter charges against Alec Baldwin (file photo) (Associated Press)

In a statement to The Independent Baldwin’s attorney Luke Nikas described the charges as a “terrible miscarriage of justice”.

“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.”

Ms Carmack-Altwies explained that the two separate counts were for underlying negligence and  “involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act”.

Under the terms of Halls’ plea deal, he will serve a suspended sentence and six months probation.

Ms Carmack-Altwies said her office had received a final report from the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office on 27 October last year.

The charges will be filed in New Mexico court before the end of the month. Once the charges are entered, the district attorney said further evidence supporting the charges will be released.

“There is a very clear process for pursuing justice in this case,” Ms Carmack-Altwies added in her statement. “We are committed to upholding the integrity of that process to ensure equal justice under the law.”

According to affidavits from law enforcement, the accidental shooting occurred as Alec Baldwin was discussing a gunfight sequence with crew members at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Bonanza City, New Mexico, on 6 October 2021.

Alec Baldwin faces up to 18 months in prison after being charged with involuntary manslaughter
Alec Baldwin faces up to 18 months in prison after being charged with involuntary manslaughter

The actor unholstered a .45 revolver and raised it in the direction of a camera, where director Joel Souza and Hutchins were standing.

The gun went off, and a single bullet struck Souza in the shoulder before fatally striking Hutchins in the chest.

In September last year, Ms Carmack-Altwies announced four “possible defendants” including Baldwin and three others while asking New Mexico’s Board of Finance for additional funding to complete the investigation.

When contacted by the Santa Fe New Mexican at the time, she said the list of possible charges at ranged from homicide to violations of state gun statutes.

The 21 October 2021 shooting occurred at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Bonanza City, New Mexico, an old mining town on the outskirts of Santa Fe that had been abandoned in the early 1900s before being repurposed as a film set.

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