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Alec Baldwin to be charged with involuntary manslaughter in fatal ‘Rust’ shooting

The film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, will also face involuntary manslaughter charges.
/ Source: TODAY

Alec Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting on the set of "Rust" in 2021 that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, authorities said.

New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced Jan. 19 that Baldwin and the film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, will each be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

“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. “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”

This aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., on Oct. 23, 2021. A gun Baldwin was holding on set fired a live round, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
This aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., on Oct. 23, 2021. A gun Baldwin was holding on set fired a live round, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.Jae C. Hong / AP

Luke Nikas, an attorney for Baldwin, described Carmack-Altwies' decision as representing "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," Nikas said in a statement. "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 New Mexico, involuntary manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony. If convicted, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed could face up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. A firearm enhancement on one of the charges makes the crime punishable by a mandatory five years in jail, prosecutors said.

Hutchins was fatally shot while filming "Rust" in October 2021 at the Bonanza Creek Ranch outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Baldwin was rehearsing a scene with a pistol when the gun fired a round, killing Hutchins and injuring the film's director, Joel Souza.

Jason Bowles and Todd J. Bullion, attorneys for Gutierrez-Reed, said in a statement their client "did not commit involuntary manslaughter."

"These charges are the result of a very flawed investigation, and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts," the lawyers said. "We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury."

In the days after the shooting, Gutierrez-Reed's lawyers, Bowles and Robert Gorence, said she had “no idea” where the live rounds came from, or how they ended up on the set of the film.

Hutchins' family said in a statement Thursday that they supported the charges against Gutierrez-Reed and the "Glengarry Glen Ross" star.

"It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law," lawyer Brian J. Panish said in a statement on behalf of the family.

"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."

Vigil for Halyna Hutchins
Locals and members of the local film community mourn the loss of Hutchins at a vigil in Albuquerque in October 2021.Mostafa Bassim Adly / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Carmack-Altwies appointed Andrea Reeb to serve as a special prosecutor in the case. Carmack-Altwies and Reeb were expected to formally file the charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed by the end of January.

“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,” 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.”

The film's assistant director, David Halls, has agreed to plead guilty to a charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon, prosecutors said. The terms included a "suspended sentence" and six months of probation.

No charges related to the injuring of Souza, the director, will be filed, prosecutors said.

Baldwin and Hutchins' family settled a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the actor and others involved in producing "Rust" in October 2022.

Matthew Hutchins, the widower of Halyna Hutchins, said in a statement the filming of the project would resume in January 2023 and that he would serve as an executive producer, with Souza continuing as director.

“I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin),” he said in a statement. “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.”

Baldwin said in an interview with ABC News in 2022 that he did not pull the gun's trigger, and he was not to blame for the accident.

“I feel that someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is,” he said. “But I know it’s not me.”