On Thursday, a New Mexico prosecutor charged actor Alec Baldwin and others in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during the filming of Rust.
District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin and the film’s armorer. This comes after more than a year of investigation into the October 2021 shooting on a film set outside Santa Fe.
In a statement, the prosecutor said that assistant director David Halls has signed a plea agreement for the charge of the negligent use of a deadly weapon. Furthermore, he states,
“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.”
Alec and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will each be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, she said.
Under New Mexico law, involuntary manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony. It is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Halyna was killed when a revolver Alec was rehearsing with during filming in New Mexico fired a live round that hit her and movie director Joel Souza, who survived.
The sheriff’s office focused on how live rounds got onto a movie set and how they were loaded into a firearm.
Alec has denied responsibility for the cinematographer’s death and said live rounds should never have been allowed onto the set of the low-budget movie. The actor also said that he was told the gun was “cold,” an industry term meaning it is safe to use.
In a 2021 television interview, Alec told ABC News he did not pull the trigger of the replica Pietta .45-caliber long Colt revolver. He reiterated that he fired after he cocked it while rehearsing camera angles with Halyna.
An FBI forensic test of the single-action revolver found it “functioned normally” and would not fire without the trigger being pulled.
The district attorney last year hired a special prosecutor and received $318,000 in state funds. This is to pursue what she believed would be high-profile, costly jury trials should charges be filed.
New Mexico’s worker safety agency in April fined the film’s production company the maximum amount possible for what it described as “willful” safety lapses leading to Hutchin’s death.
The agency found Rust Move Productions LLC knew firearm safety procedures were not being followed and showed “plain indifference” to the hazards.