Alec Baldwin to be charged with involuntary manslaughter over 'Rust' shooting

Alec Baldwin has been found guilty of 'involuntary manslaughter'
Alec Baldwin has been found guilty of 'involuntary manslaughter'   -  Copyright  AP Photo
By Sarah Palmer  & AP

Santa Fe district attorney Mary Carmack-Altweis and special prosecutor Andrea Reeb have announced that actor Alec Baldwin will be charged with 'involuntary manslaughter' following the shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust

Director Joel Souza was also injured in the 2021 accident. 

Hutchins died shortly after being wounded by a gunshot during setup for a scene at the ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe on 21 October 2021. Baldwin was pointing a pistol at Hutchins when the gun went off, killing her and wounding Souza.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza, who led the initial investigation into Hutchins' death, described "a degree of neglect" on the film set. But he left decisions about potential criminal charges to prosecutors after delivering the results of a yearlong investigation in October. That report did not specify how live ammunition wound up on the film set.

Baldwin - known for his roles in 30 Rock and The Hunt for Red October and his impression of former President Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live - has described the killing of Hutchins as a "tragic accident."

He has sought to clear his name by suing people involved in handling and supplying the loaded gun that was handed to him on set. Baldwin, also a co-producer on Rust, said he was told the gun was safe.

In his lawsuit, Baldwin said that while working on camera angles with Hutchins during rehearsal for a scene, he pointed the gun in her direction, pulled back and released the hammer of the gun, which discharged.

New Mexico's Office of the Medical Investigator determined the shooting was an accident following the completion of an autopsy and a review of law enforcement reports.

The family of Hutchins - widower Matthew Hutchins and son Andros - settled a lawsuit against producers under an agreement that aims to restart filming with Matthew Hutchins' involvement as executive producer.

Rust was beset by disputes from the start in early October 2021. Seven crew members walked off the set just hours before the fatal shooting amid discord over working conditions.

Hutchins' death has influenced negotiations over safety provisions in film crew union contracts with Hollywood producers and spurred other filmmakers to choose computer-generated imagery of gunfire rather than real weapons with blank ammunition to minimize risks.