‘No one is above the law’: Alec Baldwin charged with involuntary manslaughter in fatal ‘Rust’ shooting

Prosecutors in Santa Fe, New Mexico, will be charging actor Alec Baldwin with involuntary manslaughter following the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in October 2021 on the set of Baldwin’s movie, “Rust.”

The film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who loaded the weapon that was given to Baldwin on the set, has also been charged with involuntary manslaughter, and Dave Halls, the film’s Assistant Director, has pleaded guilty to the negligent use of a deadly weapon, Variety reports.


(Video: YouTube)

The announcement from New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and Rust Special Prosecutor Andrea Reeb came on Thursday, in the form of a written statement.

“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,” Reeb said in the statement. “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,” she added.

As American Wire reported in December 2021, Baldwin has insisted that he “didn’t pull the trigger” that fateful day.

Speaking to ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos, a tearful Baldwin stated, “I would never point a gun at anyone to pull a trigger at them. Never.”

According to Baldwin, Halls declared the weapon to be “cold” to indicate it contained only dummy rounds when he handed the actor the gun.

When asked how such a deadly mistake could happen, Baldwin told Stephanopoulos, “I have no idea. Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property.”

As Baldwin was working with Hutchins to get the angle she wanted, the gun discharged. The bullet tore through Hutchins’ torso and struck Director Joel Souza in the shoulder.

Hutchins was airlifted to an Albuquerque hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

The attorney for the cinematographer’s widower and son, Brian Panish, issued a statement on behalf of the victim’s family on Thursday in support of the charges.

“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,” Panish said.

“Our independent investigation also supports charges are warranted,” he continued. “It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law. 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.”

In addition to the two involuntary manslaughter charges — each of which carries up to 18 months in jail — Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed will also be charged with an enhancement for use of a firearm, Variety reports.

If convicted, that charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.

In a statement, Luke Nikas, the attorney representing Baldwin, claimed the decision “distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice.”

“Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set,” Nikas said. “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.”

Reporting on the long-awaited charges, conservative podcaster Katie Pavlich tweeted, “Santa Fe Prosecutor Mary Carmack-Altwies says everyone who handles a gun on set has an obligation to check the chamber. For anyone who knows basic gun safety this is a given. She says Baldwin doesn’t get a pass because he’s an actor or because he claims someone else didn’t check.”

Conservative commentator Candace Owens is thrilled with the decision.

“Great to see that Alec Baldwin is at long last being charged for killing that young woman,” she tweeted. “I hope they throw the book at him because he demonstrated dishonesty and utter lack of humility every day thereafter.”

 

 

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