Alec Baldwin and the armorer on the set of “Rust” will be charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in October 2021.
Baldwin fired the shot that killed Hutchins while preparing to film a scene in the church building of the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, N.M. The armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, loaded the weapon.
Mary Carmack-Altwies, the First Judicial District Attorney in Santa Fe, announced the charges in a statement on Thursday.
Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed each face two counts of involuntary manslaughter, which each carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in jail. They also will be charged with an enhancement for use of a firearm which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.
The prosecutor also announced that David Halls, the film’s first assistant director, has agreed to plead guilty to a charge of “negligent use of a deadly weapon.” Halls handed the loaded Colt .45 to Baldwin. Under the plea agreement, Halls will be given six months of probation but will not serve jail time.
“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 Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor appointed by Carmack-Altwies to oversee the case, in a statement. “It’s that simple. The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ film set. 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.”
Baldwin has said that Halls told him the weapon was “cold,” meaning it contained only dummy rounds. But investigators found that the gun was loaded with one live bullet, which went through Hutchins’ torso and lodged in the shoulder of director Joel Souza.
Hutchins was airlifted to a hospital in Albuquerque, where she was pronounced dead later that day.
Brian Panish, the attorney for Hutchins’ widower and son, issued a statement Thursday on behalf of the family expressing support for the charges.
“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,” Panish said. “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.”
Baldwin has repeatedly argued that he is not to blame for the incident. His attorneys have alleged that Halls, Gutierrez Reed, and two others were at fault for a chain of missteps that led to the shooting.
Luke Nikas, Baldwin’s attorney, said in a statement on Thursday that the decision “distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice.”
(Excerpt) Read more in: Variety