US Actor Alec Baldwin Formally Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter in Rust Shooting

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Baldwin maintains he did not pull the gun’s trigger and that he was unaware that the gun he fired contained a live round.

American Actor and producer Alec Baldwin has been criminally charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the 2021 fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set of the movie, Rust, Santa Fe’s District Attorney's office in New Mexico said Tuesday.

The DA’s office accused Baldwin of “many instances of extremely reckless acts”. The movie’s armourer, Hannah Guiterrez Reed, has also been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

“Negligent use of a deadly weapon charges were also filed against ‘Rust’ assistant director David Halls, who has pleaded no contest and has entered into a plea agreement that is pending approval,” the DA’s office said.

Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said in a statement: “Today we have taken another important step in securing justice for Halyna Hutchins. In New Mexico, no one is above the law and justice will be served.”

Halyna Hutchins died on the set of Rust in New Mexico after she was struck in the chest by a live round of ammunition fired from a prop gun held by Baldwin during a rehearsal. Director Joel Souza was also shot and injured.

Carmack-Altwies earlier this month said she would charge Baldwin and Reed with involuntary manslaughter, accusing them of failing to perform safety procedures that could have prevented the accident that resulted in Hutchins’ death.

Baldwin did not take firearm training on the movie set seriously, prosecutors said in probable cause documents outlining evidence in the case. He “was distracted and talking on his cell phone to his family during the training” on how to operate the prop gun

Prosecutors also stated that Reed did not insist on Baldwin’s safety training, did not check each round loaded into the firearms, and did not follow appropriate safety protocols in storing ammunition.

She “was reckless in her responsibility to ensure set safety with the firearm. She failed to correct Baldwin from committing the dangerous and reckless safety violations by pointing the weapon at/towards people and by having his finger on the trigger,” the probable cause statement against Reed said.

Lawyers for Baldwin and Reed have said they intend to fight the charges in court.

If found guilty, both defendants could face up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 (£4,050) fine. They will be tried by a jury, according to prosecutors.