Baldwin stormed the film set with a fatal shot

SANTA FE, NM — Actor Alec Baldwin and a weapons specialist are charged with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a cameraman on a New Mexico movie set, prosecutors announced Thursday, citing a “criminal disregard for security.”

Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies issued a statement announcing the charges against Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who supervised guns on the set of the western Rust.

Halyna Hutchins died shortly after being wounded during rehearsals at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe on October 21, 2021. Baldwin pointed a pistol at Hutchins when the gun went off, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza.

Assistant director David Halls, who handed Baldwin the gun, has signed an agreement to plead guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon, prosecutors said.

Baldwin is an A-list actor whose 40-year career included the early blockbuster The Hunt for Red October and a starring role on the sitcom 30 Rock, as well as notable appearances in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed and a film adaptation of David Mamet’s Glengary Glen Ross. In recent years, he has been known for his impression of ex-President Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live.

Manslaughter by negligence can include killing that occurs while a suspect is doing something lawful but dangerous and is acting carelessly or carelessly.

The charge is a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine under New Mexico law. The indictment also includes a provision that could result in a mandatory five-year sentence because the offense was committed with a gun.

Carmack-Altwies said charges will be filed by the end of January and that Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will receive a subpoena to appear in court. She said prosecutors would forego a grand jury and rely on a judge to determine if there is probable cause to turn to a jury trial.

Andrea Reeb, a special prosecutor on the case, cited a “pattern of criminal disregard for safety” on set.

“If any of those three people – Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed or David Halls – had done his job, Halyna Hutchins would be alive today. It’s that simple,” said Reeb, also a newly sworn Republican legislator.

Baldwin’s attorney said the charges amounted to “a terrible miscarriage of justice.”

The actor “had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the film set. He relied on the professionals he worked with to assure him the gun had no live cartridges. We will fight against charges and we will win,” said Luke Nikas in a statement.

A lawyer for Gutierrez-Reed said the charges were “the result of a very flawed investigation and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts.”

“We intend to get the full truth out and believe that Hannah will be acquitted of her wrongdoing by a jury,” said Jason Bowles.

It was unclear when Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed may be required to appear in court in Santa Fe once charges are filed. Defendants can attend many first trials remotely or request a waiver of their first appearance.

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

Baldwin has described the murder as a “tragic accident”.

He tried to clear his name by suing people involved in handling and delivering the loaded gun. Baldwin, also co-producing Rust, said he was told the gun was safe.

In his lawsuit, Baldwin said that while he was working with Hutchins on camera angles, he pointed the gun in her direction and backed away, releasing the hammer of the gun, which discharged.

The New Mexico Medical Investigator’s Office, after completing an autopsy and a review of law enforcement reports, determined the shooting to be an accident.

The New Mexico Occupational Safety and Health Bureau imposed the maximum penalty on Rust Movie Productions based on a number of safety deficiencies, including testimony that production managers took limited or no action to fix two on-set blank cartridge misfires prior to filming.

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

In a statement from her lawyer, the relatives thanked the authorities for bringing the charges. “It is a comfort to the family that no one is above the law in New Mexico,” they said.

Information for this article was provided by Susan Montoya and Andrew Dalton of The Associated Press.