Alec Baldwin Facing Involuntary Manslaughter Charges in ‘Rust’ Shooting
Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are facing criminal charges in connection with the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film “Rust” in 2021.
New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced today that Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will each be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will be “charged in the alternative,” meaning a jury must decide “under which definition of involuntary manslaughter they were guilty.”
The first involuntary manslaughter charge is a fourth-degree felony, and must be proved with underlying negligence. It carries up to an 18-month sentence and $5,000 fine. The charge also carries with it the misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a firearm.
They second involuntary manslaughter charge requires proof of more than simple negligence. It is also a fourth-degree felony with a possible sentence of up to 18 months and $5,000 fine. The charge, however, includes a “firearm enhancement,” punishable by a mandatory five years in prison.
The charges will be filed at the end of the month. At that time, the defendants will receive a summons. A first appearance will be scheduled by the court.
The D.A. said in a statement, “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.”
It was also noted that assistant director David Halls was facing a negligent use of a deadly weapon charge, but has signed a plea agreement. The agreement includes a suspended sentence and six months’ probation.
Special prosecutor Andrea Reeb, who was appointed by the D.A. 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. 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.”
“Rust” director Joel Souza was also shot during the incident, but survived. There will be no charges related to his injuries.
Following the announcement, Hutchins family attorney Brian J. Panish said in a statement, "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. 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."
In October 2021, Baldwin, an actor and producer on “Rust,” was holding the gun that discharged, killing Hutchins and wounding Souza on the set in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has denied any wrongdoing.
After news of the charges, Alec’s attorney Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel spoke out, saying, “This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice. 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.”
In the past, Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer has made claims that she was framed and that there was sabotage on set. She recently filed a lawsuit against the movie’s gun and ammunition supplier.
Meanwhile, Halyna’s estate had reached a settlement with Rust Productions and Baldwin in October 2022.
As part of the settlement, the estate’s wrongful death suit against Baldwin and the filmmakers was dismissed, and Hutchins’ husband Matthew was named an executive producer on the movie. Production on the film was scheduled to start this month.
Last month, “Extra” spoke with Alec’s wife Hilaria about where the family is at in the wake of the “Rust” tragedy.
She said, “We're not okay. We can't be okay. No one is okay. It was, and is, a tragedy that nobody could ever have imagined.”
She went on, ”I mean, the loss of her. Halyna, her son, a little son, her family, her co-workers, the people who loved her, her fans. I mean, she was an incredible, incredible woman in so many different ways.”
Opening up about Alec, she said, “I worry about him… I mean, can you imagine? Nobody can. There was so much confusion to understand what had happened.”
Baldwin shared, “When you go through something hard, you know not every day is going to be the same. You have moments in the day that are very hard. Nights are hard, nightmares are hard. So I’m just there, and I say, ‘I’m here and I’m going to take care of you,’ and I said that from the moment we realized what had happened.”
One of the toughest things for Alec and Hilaria was telling their two oldest children Carmen and Rafa what happened.
“There is no way that you can explain this because it is awful. It's awful!” she said. “I thought I was going to do this without Alec and he said, ‘No, I can't be a coward. I have to be there…’ And then when I tell them... Carmen started saying to me, ‘Why are you telling me this?...She said, ‘I want to un-know this.’ She used the word ‘un-know,’ and Alec said, ‘I want to un-know it, too,’ I think everyone wants to un-know it... because it's real.”
That is why Alec is so driven to push past his personal pain and finish the film. Hilaria explained, “We can go forward and talk about gun safety on sets, and try to figure out how this crazy thing happened, and we can go forward and honor Halyna.
We can remember her, continuing her legacy for her, for her family and we can take care of everybody who's still here who is extraordinarily damaged by this awful tragedy. That's all that we can do, but we can't un-know it.”