Alec Baldwin will be charged over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of ‘Rust’ in 2021. The actor, along with the film’s armorer, who allegedly allowed live rounds into the gun that killed Hutchins, will face charges of involuntary manslaughter.
Santa Fe First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and special prosecutor Andrea Reeb announced their decision in a statement to US media outlets on Thursday.
“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,” Carmack-Altwies said in a statement. “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”
Hutchins was killed after a gun wielded by Baldwin went off during rehearsals. The shot also injured director Joel Souza. Baldwin insisted in media interviews that he did not pull the trigger, but an FBI report obtained by ABC News in August concluded that the weapon – a .45 caliber Pietta single-action revolver – could not have discharged if the trigger was not pulled.
One of the manslaughter counts faced by Baldwin deals with Hutchins’ negligent death, while the other concerns the commission of manslaughter during an otherwise lawful act, for which prosecutors will have to prove that gross negligence was involved. This latter charge includes a firearms enhancement, which ups punishment to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in jail.
It remains unclear how live rounds made their way into the revolver. Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who faces the same charges as Baldwin, has already sued the set’s ammo supplier, accusing the company of mixing up live and blank rounds. It is also unclear whether Gutierrez-Reed or another crew member announced that the gun was ‘hot’ or ‘cold,’ and whether all involved understood that ‘hot’ typically implies a weapon loaded with either blanks or live rounds.
Baldwin himself sued Gutierrez-Reed and other crew members, claiming that he had been assured the gun was ‘cold’ immediately before the incident.
Earlier this year, New Mexico issued a $136,793 fine to the production company behind ‘Rust’ for a string of safety violations, including two accidental rifle discharges and shotguns left unattended on set.