Alec Baldwin Will Be Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter in Rust Shooting

More than one year after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot on the set of Rust, the film's star Alec Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

By Kisha Forde Jan 19, 2023 4:37 PMTags
Watch: Alec Baldwin to Be Charged in Rust Shooting

Alec Baldwin, armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director David Halls will be charged in the 2021 fatal shooting on the set of Rust, the New Mexico District Attorney's Office has confirmed.

More than one year after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot on the film's New Mexico set, the state's district attorney, Mary Carmack-Altwies, and Rust Special Prosecutor, Andrea Reeb, have announced in a statement obtained by NBC News that Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Hutchins.

The October 2021 shooting occurred after a loaded prop gun held by Baldwin discharged, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.

Souza, who was shot in the shoulder, was treated and was later released. No charges will be filed specific to the non-fatal shooting of the director. 

"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 Jan. 19 statement. "On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice."

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Added Reeb, "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. 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."

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Universal Pictures, Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

Baldwin's attorney, Luke Nikas, addressed the charges in a statement obtained by NBC News.

"This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins' tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice," the statement read. "Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win."

According to the District Attorney's Office, Halls has signed a plea agreement for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. The terms include a suspended sentence and six months of probation.

In response, an attorney for Halls tells E! News, "Mr. Halls accepted a petty misdemeanor charge. Absent no charges at all, this is the best outcome for Mr. Halls and the case. He can now put this matter behind him and allow the focus of this tragedy to be on the shooting victims, their family and changing the industry so this type of accident will never happen again."

Gutierrez-Reed's attorney, Jason Bowles, also responded to the development, stating that "Hannah is, and has always been, very emotional and sad about this tragic accident." 

"But she did not commit involuntary manslaughter," the statement obtained by E! News read. "These charges are the result of a very flawed investigation, and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts. We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury."

In response to the charges, Hutchins' family also issued a statement shortly thereafter.

"We want to thank the Santa Fe Sheriff and the District Attorney for concluding their thorough investigation and determining that charges for involuntary manslaughter are warranted for the killing of Halyna Hutchins with conscious disregard for human life," the statement obtained by NBC News read. "It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law."

They continued, "We support the charges, will fully cooperate with this prosecution, and fervently hope the justice system works to protect the public and hold accountable those who break the law."

The decision comes a little more than three months after Halyna's husband, Matthew Hutchins—with whom she shared 10-year-old son Andros—reached a settlement against the film's producers and Baldwin over the incident, with Matthew also sharing that the team would resume filming.

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"We have reached a settlement, subject to court approval, for our wrongful death case against the producers of Rust, including Alec Baldwin and Rust Movie Productions, LLC," Matthew said in a statement obtained by E! News in October 2022. "As part of that settlement, our case will be dismissed. The filming of Rust, which I will now executive produce, will resume with all the original principal players on board in January 2023."

He continued, "I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin). All of us believe Halyna's death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna's final work."

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At the time, Baldwin's attorney also released a statement, sharing, "Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained the specific desire to do what is best for Halyna's son. We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation."

Of the settlement, the Office of the First Judicial District Attorney noted to Deadline in October 2022 that the resolution "will have no impact" on the "ongoing investigation or ultimate decision whether to file criminal charges in the case."

(E! News and NBC News are part of the NBCUniversal family).

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