Alec Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal on-set shooting of a cinematographer, New Mexico prosecutors announced on Thursday.
Alec Baldwin and another crew member will be charged with involuntary manslaughter in the 2021 fatal on-set shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, New Mexico prosecutors announced on Thursday.
- The felony charges against Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who worked as the on-set armorer during the production of “Rust,” which if convicted are punishable by prison time, will be filed by the end of January, according to Mary Carmack-Altwies, the district attorney for Santa Fe.
- Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed during rehearsals at a ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico on Oct. 21, 2021. Baldwin was pointing a pistol at Hutchins when the gun fired, killing the cinematographer and wounding Joel Souza, the film’s director.
- Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed face up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine if convicted by a jury. The movie’s assistant director David Halls pled guilty to “negligent use of a deadly weapon,” a misdemeanor, and will serve six months probation.
- Baldwin claimed in a Dec. 2021 interview that he “didn’t pull the trigger.” The longtime actor is also facing a wrongful death lawsuit from Hutchins’ family.
- Legal experts told Reuters they were “doubtful that a jury would convict Baldwin over the shooting,” and one former prosecutor said, “It’s a very aggressive charging decision, and the defense has a strong case.” Prosecutors would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Baldwin’s actions weren’t merely negligent, but “reckless.”
- The killing of Hutchins may have “changed permanently” the role of firearms safety on film production sets. Technological means to replace actually firing a gun on-set by simulating the flash or bang of gunfire or replacing guns with “essentially enhanced BB guns” may be more common in films going forward.
- The New York Times reported the charges against Baldwin have thrown into doubt whether the production of “Rust” will ever be completed. However, one source told the Times the film is “still on track to be completed with Mr. Baldwin in the lead role” and Souza returning as director.
- CNN published a quote from Santa Fe DA Carmack-Altwies that demonstrates the prosecutor’s philosophy behind bringing charges against Baldwin. “Every person that handles a gun has a duty to make sure that if they’re going to handle that gun, point it at someone and pull the trigger, that it is not going to fire a projectile and kill someone,” Carmack-Altwies told CNN.
- Baldwin’s attorney said in a statement Thursday that the decision to charge his client “distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death” and is “a terrible miscarriage of justice,” according to the Washington Post.
- The Wall Street Journal noted Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed are both being charged with two different counts of involuntary manslaughter. The second charge, involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act, carries a mandatory five-year prison sentence. A jury could convict on one charge but not the other.
- Fox News broke down Baldwin’s “four biggest missteps” in the months following the shooting. Baldwin took part in a tell-all interview in Dec 2021 with ABC News, adopted a “terrible” media strategy that hurt him with the public, and participated in a police interview immediately after the shooting
- The New York Post charted the “twists and turns” that led to Baldwin’s indictment. It’s now known there were several on-set complaints about safety before the shooting, the set hired an inexperienced armorer, and there was a previous bullet mix-up before the fatal shooting.
© Dominic Moore, 2023