Prosecutors in New Mexico have charged Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin with two counts of involuntary manslaughter over the October 2021 shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Western movie ‘Rust.’
The charges were formally filed on Tuesday in Santa Fe, New Mexico, indicting both Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who worked as armorer providing the guns used on the set. Hutchins was shot dead when Baldwin fired an 1880s-era .45 caliber revolver, allegedly after being told that the gun was “cold,” meaning it wasn’t loaded with real bullets.
In his roles as both the star and producer of the film, Baldwin failed to “mitigate numerous reckless and dangerous” actions on the ‘Rust’ set, prosecutors alleged. “On the day of the shooting alone, evidence shows that no less than a dozen acts, or omissions of recklessness, occurred in the short time prior to lunch and the time of the shooting, and this does not include the reckless handling of the firearm by Baldwin.”
The actor was reportedly rehearsing for a scene when he pointed the gun toward the camera, which Hutchins was operating. The bullet killed Hutchins and wounded the film’s director, Joel Souza. A lawyer for Baldwin, who also faces civil lawsuits over the shooting, called the indictment “a terrible miscarriage of justice,” adding, “Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set.”
Santa Fe First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and special prosecutor Andrea Reeb announced plans to charge Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed earlier this month. An investigation of the shooting found sufficient evidence to justify manslaughter charges, the district attorney said. “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”
David Halls, assistant director of ‘Rust,’ agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge for his handling of the loaded revolver. He handed the gun to Baldwin, while Gutierrez-Reed was in charge of weapons on the 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,” said Reeb, the special prosecutor. “It’s that simple.”
Filming of ‘Rust’, which had been suspended since Hutchins’ death, was reportedly set to resume this month with Baldwin still playing the lead acting role and Souza still directing.