Santa Fe, NM – Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin will face an involuntary manslaughter charge in connection with the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust” in 2021.
“Rust” Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed is also being charged with involuntary manslaughter, CBS News reported.
Special Prosecutor Andrea Reeb announced the charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed on Thursday morning.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office (SFCSO) concluded its investigation into the cinematographer’s shooting death in October of 2022 and forwarded two binders of information to the Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office.
SFCSO Spokesperson Juan Rios said the extensive investigation included an outline of all the evidence collected in the case, including numerous interviews and the FBI’s forensic analysis of physical evidence, the Associated Press reported.
Rios said the department did not set forth any recommendations regarding the potential filing of criminal charges, the Associated Press reported.
Baldwin, co-producer and star of the film, insisted during an interview with ABC News in 2021 that he “didn’t pull the trigger” of the “prop” gun he was holding when it discharged and fatally shot 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins on Oct. 21, 2021.
The 64-year-old actor said he had “no idea” how the fatal incident occurred.
But according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) forensic report, the .45 Colt caliber F.lli Pietta single-action revolver Baldwin was holding at the time of the fatal shooting could not have fired without someone pulling the trigger, ABC News reported.
In a lawsuit field on Nov. 11, 2022, Baldwin accused numerous members of the film crew of negligence for giving him the loaded firearm, The New York Times reported.
Baldwin named Seth Kenney, the film’s primary supplier of ammunition and firearms; Sara Zachry, who was in charge of the movie’s props; Assistant First Director Dave Halls, who handed him the revolver and assured him it was a “cold gun;” and “Rust” Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed in the lawsuit, The New York Times reported.
The suit accused Gutierrez-Reed of failing to carefully check the gun and the rounds it contained, and blamed Halls for not verifying the gun was safe before declaring it was and handing it off to Baldwin.
Zachry was negligent by failing to ensure the firearms and ammunition on the set were safe, according to the lawsuit.
“This tragedy happened because live bullets were delivered to the set and loaded into the gun,” Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, wrote in the suit, according to Entertainment Weekly. “Gutierrez-Reed failed to check the bullets or the gun carefully, Halls failed to check the gun carefully and yet announced the gun was safe before handing it to Baldwin, and Zachry failed to disclose that Gutierrez-Reed had been acting recklessly offset and was a safety risk to those around her,” Nikas added. “Baldwin did not know and had no reason to know any of these facts. But Cross Defendants did.”
The lawsuit accused Kenney of operating a company that was in disarray and alleged he kept ammunition stored “haphazardly,” according to The New York Times.
The suit also referenced a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report that mentioned live rounds being found inside a bandoleer Baldwin had been wearing the day of the shooting, as well as other live bullets that were found in various on-set locations.
Gutierrez-Reed and Zachry were to blame for that lack of organization, according to the lawsuit.
The defendants named in the suit have all denied responsibility for the fatal shooting, The New York Times reported.
Baldwin’s lawsuit touched on the negative impact the incident has had on Baldwin’s career, to include being fired from several jobs and being passed over for various other opportunities, according to the paper.
But he acknowledged that his hardships pale in comparison to the losses suffered by Halyna Hutchins’ family and “Rust” producer Joel Souza, who was wounded in the shooting.
“Hutchins lost her life, and her young child lost his mother,” the suit read, according to The New York Times. “Producer Joel Souza was shot in the shoulder and has suffered physical and emotional pain.”
“Though by no means comparable, Baldwin must live with the immense grief, and the resulting emotional, physical, and financial toll, caused by the fact that Cross-Defendants’ negligent conduct, assurances, and supervision put a loaded weapon in his hand and led him, Hutchins, and everyone else on set to believe that his directed use of the weapon was safe,” the filing read.
The lawsuit also alleged that Baldwin has been “wrongfully viewed as the perpetrator of this tragedy,” Entertainment Weekly reported.
District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies requested $635,000 from the New Mexico Board of Finance on Aug. 30, 2022, for the purpose of prosecuting as many as four defendants with homicide and criminal charges in connection with Halyna Hutchins’ death, according to Deadline.
“[One] of the possible defendants is well known movie actor Alec Baldwin,” Carmack-Altwies said in the letter, according to the news outlet.
The board provided her with $317,000 to prosecute the case, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
Halyna Hutchins’ family reached an undisclosed settlement with Baldwin and the “Rust” production company in connection with a wrongful death lawsuit in September of last year.
Her husband, Matthew Hutchins, filed the lawsuit in Santa Fe in February of 2022, CNN reported.
The lawsuit accused Baldwin, the film’s producers, multiple crew members, and the movie’s production companies of violating a slew of industry standards that they claimed ultimately resulted in the 42-year-old cinematographer’s death.
In addition to the undisclosed settlement, Matthew Hutchins will take over as an executive producer on the “Rust” film, CNN reported.
“We have reached a settlement, subject to court approval, for our wrongful death case against the producers of Rust, including Alec Baldwin and Rust Movie Productions, LLC,” Matthew Hutchins said in a statement at the time. “As part of that settlement, our case will be dismissed.”
“The filming of Rust, which I will now executive produce, will resume with all the original principal players on board in January 2023,” he continued. “I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin). All of us believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna’s final work.”
Nikas said the process of reaching a settlement had been difficult, but that all parties wanted to ensure they were doing what was “best” for the Hutchins’ nine-year-old son, Andros, USA Today reported.
“We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation,” Nikas said.
Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney, Jason Bowles, said his client was grateful that the settlement would benefit the Hutchins family, CNN reported.
“We are hopeful that the district attorneys office will also recognize that a measure of Justice has been achieved in regards to this tragic accident, and that they will opt not to pursue criminal charges,” Bowles added.
“If the facts and evidence warrant criminal charges under New Mexico law then charges will be brought,” Carmack-Altwies said at the time. “No one is above the law.”