Oscar-nominated actor Alec Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the Western movie “Rust,” prosecutors said Thursday.
Baldwin and the film’s armourer who was in charge of weapons on the set, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, will each face two counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.
“Rust” first assistant director, David Halls, has agreed to plead guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon, according to the DA’s office.
“This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice,” according to a statement by Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas.
“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.”
An attorney for Gutierrez-Reed also vowed to prove his client isn’t culpable.
“Hannah is, and has always been, very emotional and sad about this tragic accident. But she did not commit involuntary manslaughter,” defence lawyer Jason Bowles said in a statement.
“These charges are the result of a very flawed investigation and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts. We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury.”
Involuntary manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony and is normally punishable by up to 18 months behind bars and a $5,000 fine, prosecutors said. But a firearm enhancement on the charges could make the crime punishable by a mandatory sentence of five years in jail, prosecutors 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,” Carmack-Altwies said in a statement, adding charges will be filed before the end of the month.
“On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”
Hutchins was fatally shot nearly 15 months ago during the filming of “Rust” at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico on Oct. 21, 2021.
Baldwin was rehearsing with a pistol for a scene set inside a church when the gun went off, killing Hutchins and wounding the director, Joel Souza.
No charges will be filed in connection to Souza’s wounding, the prosecutors said.
“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,” special prosecutor Andrea Reeb said in a statement.
“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.”
Hutchins, 42, was survived by her husband, Matthew Hutchins, and their 9-year-old son, Aldous.