“On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”
New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announcing that actor Alec Baldwin and a movie armorer will each be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter regarding the fatal shooting on the "Rust" movie set in 2021.
jan 19, 2023
Background: In October 2021 on the set of the film 'Rust,' a gun Baldwin was practicing with went off and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins; director Joel Souza was injured. An investigation promptly began into the fatal shooting. Baldwin claims he did not pull the trigger, though an FBI report found that the gun Baldwin was using had to have the trigger pulled to be fired.
Why It Matters: The special prosecutor appointed to the case, Andrea Reeb, said: "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." Reeb also said, “And we also want to make sure that the safety of the film industry is addressed and things like this don’t happen again.”
The Charges: The New Mexico District Attorney's office said it will be filing criminal charges against Baldwin and movie armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed (who was responsible for weapons on the movie set) by the end of the month.
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will both be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. In the state of NM, both are fourth-degree felonies, can carry a punishment of up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. The second count of involuntary manslaughter includes "a firearm enhancement, or added mandatory penalty, because a firearm was involved," the DA's press release announcing the charges explains, continuing: "The firearm enhancement makes the crime punishable by a mandatory five years in jail."
- Defense lawyer for Gutierrez-Reed, Jason Bowles, said in a statement: "Hannah is, and has always been, very emotional and sad about this tragic incident. But she did not commit involuntary manslaughter."
- Attorney for Baldwin, Luke Nikas, said in a statement: "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."