For the tragic shooting that occurred in 2021 on the “Rust” set, Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will each be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
In a written statement sent to the media on Thursday morning, Jan. 19, Santa Fe First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and special prosecutor Andrea Reeb made their decision public.
David Halls, the first assistant director, has already decided to admit guilt to the accusation of careless use of a lethal weapon.
“I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to press criminal charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the ‘Rust’ film crew,” Carmack-Altwies said in a statement. “After a comprehensive assessment of the facts and the laws of the state of New Mexico.” No one is above the law and everyone deserves justice under my watch.
Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, said in a statement that the judgment “distorts the tragic loss of Halyna Hutchins and reflects a horrific miscarriage of justice. There was no reason for Mr. Baldwin to think the rifle or the film set contained a live bullet. He trusted the experts with whom he worked when they assured him that the rifle was empty of live ammunition. We will contest these allegations, and we will win.”
After a year-long sheriff’s investigation into the on-set shooting, Carmack-Altwies’ office announced in October that she would conduct a “thorough examination of the facts and evidence to make a considered, timely judgment about whether to press charges.”
The Western’s 42-year-old cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, was accidentally shot and murdered by the movie’s actor, Alec Baldwin, on the set as he was practicing shooting a Colt.45 revolver. Joel Souza, the director, was hurt during the shooting as well.
The district attorney’s office announced that no charges will be brought in relation to Souza’s shooting.
Before the end of the month, Carmack-Altwies and Reeb will formally file charges. At that time, each defendant will receive a summons for their initial court appearance, which can be completed remotely or waived, according to the prosecution.
A judge will determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial during a preliminary hearing. According to the district attorney’s office, preliminary hearings are normally set within 60 days of charges being brought.
A jury would have to decide which definition of involuntary manslaughter Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed violated if the matter went to trial.
According to the district attorney’s office, prosecutors must demonstrate “underlying negligence” for the first count of involuntary manslaughter, while the second count, involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act, “requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death.”
Both counts are fourth-degree felonies, each carrying a maximum punishment of 18 months in jail; however, the second count’s firearm enhancement could result in a mandatory five-year prison term, according to the prosecution.