Alec Baldwin and the armorer on the set of “Rust” will be charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in October 2021.
Baldwin fired the shot that killed Hutchins while preparing to film a scene in the church building of the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, N.M. The armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, loaded the weapon.
Mary Carmack-Altwies, the First Judicial District Attorney in Santa Fe, announced the charges in a statement on Thursday.
Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed will be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, which each carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in jail. They also face an enhancement for use of a firearm which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.
The prosecutor also announced that Dave Halls, the film’s first assistant director, has agreed to plead guilty to a charge of “negligent use of a deadly weapon.” Halls handed the loaded Colt .45 to Baldwin. Under the plea agreement, Halls will be given six months of probation but will not serve jail time.
“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,” said Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor appointed by Carmack-Altwies to oversee the case, in a statement. “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.”
Baldwin has said that Halls told him the weapon was “cold,” meaning it contained only dummy rounds. But investigators found that the gun was loaded with one live bullet, which went through Hutchins’ torso and lodged in the shoulder of director Joel Souza.
Hutchins was airlifted to a hospital in Albuquerque, where she was pronounced dead later that day.
Carmack-Altwies submitted a request for $635,500 in state funding last year to pay for up to four criminal trials. She was granted half that amount.
Baldwin has repeatedly argued that he is not to blame for the incident. His attorneys have alleged that Halls, Gutierrez Reed, and two others were at fault for a chain of missteps that led to the shooting.
Baldwin has told interviewers that he did not pull the trigger, and that the gun went off when he let go of the hammer. An FBI forensic analysis determined that the gun was functioning normally, however.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office turned over its investigation to the prosecutor’s office in October, more than a year after the shooting took place.
Hutchins’ death has led to a broader conversation about set safety, though to date no new laws have been passed to tighten regulations.
Much of the investigation focused on Gutierrez Reed, the 24-year-old armorer. Gutierrez Reed was working as an armorer for just the second time, and her time was divided between that job and a job in props.
Baldwin and the film’s producers announced a legal settlement on Oct. 5 with Halyna Hutchins’ widower, Matthew Hutchins. Under the agreement, the producers plan to resume filming, and they hope to complete the film and submit it for cinematography awards.
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