Alec Baldwin And Armorer to Face Involuntary Manslaughter Charges In Death Of Halyna Hutchins On 'Rust' Set
More than a year after Alec Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the Rust movie set in New Mexico, prosecutors announced Thursday that he will face two counts of involuntary manslaughter. In addition, two other people also will be charged in connection with her death, according to details released Thursday morning by Santa Fe County District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.
Like Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed — who was the film's armorer — faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter. David Halls, an assistant director, will serve a suspended sentence and six months of probation in a plea agreement, according to Carmack-Altwies.
“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.
Baldwin killed Hutchins, a 42-year-old mother of a young son, during rehearsal on the film's set in October 2021. Joel Souza, the film's director, was also wounded after the bullet passed through Hutchins. No charges will be filed specifically related to Souza's shooting.
Prosecutors previously have said that as many as four people, including Baldwin, who was a producer on the film, could face charges.
What Baldwin Has Said Before
Baldwin has said he didn’t pull the trigger, and that the gun essentially discharged on its own. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which the state brought in to help with ballistics, cast doubt on the actor’s explanation. One of the unanswered questions at the center of the case is how a live bullet ended up in Baldwin's working firearm.
Two months ago, the final police report on the shooting described a disorganized movie set where one crew member said the film’s armorer was considered “not qualified or certified.”
The 551-page Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office document recounted not only the chain of events that led to Baldwin killing Hutchins, but also of a production rushing to cut corners and skipping typically mandatory safety meetings.
Even prior to the report being released, in April of last year New Mexico had issued a fine of $136,793against the film's producers, calling it “the highest level of citation and maximum fine allowable by state law.”
On Thursday, Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor appointed by Carmack-Altwies to the case, 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," Reeb said in the statement. "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.”
About The Charges
Prosecutors said the charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will give juries the opportunity to "decide not simply if they were guilty, but under which definition of involuntary manslaughter they were guilty." Here's what they said about each of the charges:
- The first charge — involuntary manslaughter — requires proof of underlying negligence. In New Mexico, it could mean up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
- The second charge — involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act — requires "proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death." A conviction would also mean up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
They also said Halls, an assistant director who previously admitted to not examining the gun closely, has agreed to serve a suspended sentence and six months of probation in a plea agreement.
Hutchins' death was ruled an accident in August 2022. New Mexico's Office of the Medical Investigator concluded there was no “obvious intent to cause harm or death” and “no compelling demonstration” that the gun was intentionally loaded with live bullets.
That said, it was clear in reports on conditions on the set that numerous mistakes were made.
Why It Matters
The Rust shooting launched a rank-and-file industry push for safer sets, and some lawmakers considered a ban on using real guns on productions. Understanding who was responsible, and what went wrong is key to preventing other fatal incidents.
Some Key Outtakes From Police Report
The final police report included details of dysfunction on the New Mexico set and chaos both before and after Hutchins was killed. Half a dozen members of the film’s camera crew resigned the morning of the fatal shooting.
Baldwin worried in text messages about being charged criminally and says the investigation is putting a "strain" on his work.
Members of the Rust crew attacked Halls, the first assistant director, in emails. Halls acknowledged ahead of these disclosures that he failed to inspect Baldwin's gun closely.
Seth Kenny, who supplied guns and ammunition to the Rust production, tells investigators that armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed shipped guns loaded with ammunition.
Zack Stills, a production assistant, complains that Hall was "constantly rushing things."