Involuntary manslaughter charges have been filed against actor Alec Baldwin and a firearms expert in connection with the shooting death of a cinematographer on a New Mexico film set, according to court records submitted by US prosecutors on Tuesday.
Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who oversaw the use of guns on the Rust set in Santa Fe, were named in the criminal filings by Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.
On October 21, 2021, Halyna Hutchins was wounded while participating in rehearsals at a ranch outside of Santa Fe. She passed away shortly after. When the gun went off as Baldwin was aiming it at Hutchins, it killed her and wounded Joel Souza, the director.
According to the prosecution, the decision to pursue charges was influenced by Baldwin’s role as a producer and the identity of the shooter.
The prosecution of Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed for what the authorities have called a habit of criminal disregard for safety was originally revealed by prosecutor Carmack-Altwies roughly two weeks prior to the filing on Tuesday. She detailed two sets of involuntary manslaughter allegations related to the incident in recent weeks.
Alternative criteria and punishments are part of Baldwin’s manslaughter charge. For willful disregard of safety “without due caution and circumspection,” one might file a manslaughter case.
There were numerous instances of “very irresponsible behavior” or reckless failures to take safeguards in the days and minutes prior to the fatal shooting, according to a probable cause statement describing the evidence against Baldwin.
When a plastic or imitation gun should have been used in accordance with industry guidelines, according to investigators Baldwin pulled a revolver from a holster, pointed it towards Hutchins, and discharged the weapon.
Additionally, according to the statement, images and recordings of the practice, including those taken just before the fatal shooting, showed Baldwin “manipulating” the pistol’s hammer with his finger inside the trigger guard, and an FBI investigation reveals that the gun could not have been fired without pulling the trigger.
According to investigators, Baldwin missed the required firearms training before shooting and was preoccupied with family calls while on the set, so he did not finish the instruction completely. As the rifle was loaded and given to Baldwin, they also point out several violations of the necessary safety checks and processes.
Both Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed insist on their innocence and have vowed to challenge the allegations. Luke Nikas, Baldwin’s attorney, chose not to respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
Instead, he cited his earlier remarks on the matter, in which he described the accusations as a “sad miscarriage of justice” that he and his client intended to fight and overturn.
In the statement, it was said that Mr. Baldwin had “no reason to assume there was a live bullet in the revolver or anywhere on the movie set.” He trusted the experts with whom he collaborated.
A statement would be made available later, according to Gutierrez-attorney. Reed’s
The death of Hutchins has already prompted the film industry to adopt additional safety measures.
The set was “actually being run extremely fast and loose,” Carmack-Altwies told The Associated Press in an interview on January 19. She claimed Baldwin ought to have been aware of past set misfires and the numerous safety issues that had been raised.
A summons to appear in court will be issued for Gutierrez-Reed and Baldwin. A judge will decide if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial instead of a grand jury, according to the prosecution.
An answer might not come for up to 60 days. If a victim is killed while the defendant is engaging in a lawful but risky activity and is acting carelessly or recklessly, that is considered involuntary manslaughter.
According to the prosecution, a potential plea deal signed by the movie’s assistant director David Halls, who was responsible for the set’s safety, has not yet received judicial approval and cannot be made public.
Halls has agreed to admit guilt to the careless use of a lethal weapon, the prosecution has stated. Before giving the pistol to Baldwin, Halls, according to the prosecution, may have handled it improperly.
The district attorney’s office’s spokesperson, Heather Brewer, stated in a statement on Monday that the prosecution is “completely focused on getting justice for Halyna Hutchins” and that “the evidence and the facts speak for themselves.” Baldwin, who is also a co-producer on Rust, called the death “a horrible accident.”
In an effort to cleanse his name, the 64-year-old actor has filed lawsuits against those who handled and supplied the loaded.45-calibre revolver. He claims he was informed the weapon was safe.
In his lawsuit, Baldwin claimed that as he and Hutchins were adjusting camera angles, he pointed the gun in her direction, pulled back, and let go of the trigger, causing the rifle to discharge.
Jason Bowles, a defense attorney for Gutierrez-Reed, claimed that the accusations stem from a “flawed investigation” and a “inaccurate understanding of the actual facts.” Defendants can request to have their first appearance waived or participate remotely in many initial court procedures.
Baldwin’s arrest is a shocking turn of events for an A-list performer whose 40-year career included the early blockbuster The Hunt for Red October, a lead role in the sitcom 30 Rock, iconic roles in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed and a film adaptation of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, as well as other notable roles.
On the comic television program Saturday Night Live, Baldwin gained notoriety in recent years for his portrayal of former US President Donald Trump.