Alec Baldwin to be charged with ‘Rust’ shooting

Cinematographer Halina Hutchins died shortly after Alec Baldwin shot her while preparing for a scene on a ranch set on the outskirts of Santa Fe in 2021.

SANTA FE, New Mexico — Actor and producer Alec Baldwin will be charged with the death of a cameraman while filming the western Rust.

Baldwin and gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reid, who were allegedly armed with the fatal pistol, are charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter of Halina Hutchins.

New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Oltvis said the other participants in the proceedings would not be charged.

Assistant director David Halls reportedly signed a plea agreement on charges of negligent use of a weapon in connection with his role in the shooting.

No charges will be filed in the case of the non-fatal shooting of director Joel Sousa, who was hit by the same bullet that killed Hutchins.

“After a thorough review of the evidence and the laws of the State of New Mexico, I have come to the conclusion that there is enough evidence to bring criminal cases against Alec Baldwin and other members of the Rust crew,” said Carmack-Oltvis. “In my hours no one is above the law and everyone deserves justice.”

Cinematographer Halina Hutchins died shortly after being shot while preparing for a scene at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe on October 21, 2021. Baldwin pointed a gun at Hutchins when the gun went off, killing her and injuring director Joel Souza.

CONNECTED: Alec Baldwin reached an agreement with Halina Hutchins’ family

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza, who led the initial investigation into Hutchins’ death, described a “degree of neglect” on set. But he left decisions on possible criminal charges to prosecutors after he presented the results of a year-long investigation in October. This report did not state how live ammunition ended up on the set.

Taking control of the investigation, Carmack-Oltwis received an emergency request for $300,000 for the state to pay a special prosecutor, a special investigator, and other experts and staff.

Baldwin, known for his roles in Studio 30 and The Hunt for Red October, as well as his impression of former President Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, called Hutchins’ murder “a tragic accident.”

He attempted to clear his name by suing the people involved in handling and supplying the loaded guns he was given on set. Baldwin, also a Rust co-producer, said he was told the gun was safe.

In his lawsuit, Baldwin said that while working on camera angles with Hutchins during a rehearsal for a scene, he pointed the gun in her direction, drew back, and released the trigger of the gun, which ran out of juice.

The New Mexico Office of Medical Investigators determined the shooting was an accident after completing an autopsy and examining law enforcement reports.

The New Mexico Bureau of Occupational Health and Safety imposed the maximum fine on Rust Movie Productions based on a scathing account of safety violations, including evidence that production managers took limited or no action to address two misfired blanks on set prior to fatal shooting. .

Rust Movie Productions continues to dispute the basis of a $137,000 fine imposed by regulators that say production managers on set failed to follow industry standard firearm safety protocols.

The gunsmith who oversaw the firearms on set, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, along with an independent ammunition supplier, became the subject of intense scrutiny in the case. Lawyer Gutierrez Reed said the gunsmith did not shoot the gun that killed Hutchins and believes she was sabotaged. Authorities said they found no evidence of this.

Investigators initially found 500 rounds of ammunition at a film set on the outskirts of Santa Fe—a mixture of blanks, dummies, and rounds that turned out to be live. Industry experts say there should never be live streaming on set.

In April 2022, the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department released numerous files, including a lapel camera video of a mortally wounded Hutchins slipping and passing out as an evacuation helicopter arrives. Interrogations of witnesses, e-mails, text conversations, an inventory of ammunition, and hundreds of photographs completed this collection of evidence.

The state’s workplace safety regulators said immediate gun safety issues were resolved when “Rust” stopped filming, and that a return to filming in New Mexico would come with more safety checks.

The Hutchins family – widower Matthew Hutchins and son Andros – settled a lawsuit against the producers over an agreement aimed at resuming filming with Matthew as executive producer.

Rust has been surrounded by controversy since its inception in early October 2021. Seven crew members left the set just hours before the fatal shooting due to disagreements over working conditions.

Hutchins’ death affected negotiations with Hollywood producers about safety clauses in crew union contracts, and prompted other filmmakers to opt for computer-generated images of the shooting rather than actual guns with blanks to minimize the risks.

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