Alec Baldwin formally charged for fatal shooting on the set of Rust Peyton Lewis ‘23, Editor-in-Chief

On Oct. 21, 2021, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed on the movie set of Rust—a western-style film starring Alec Baldwin—after a prop gun was fired by Baldwin. Initially, the gun was believed to be a “cold gun,” meaning it contained no live rounds; however, this was proven to be false when the gun discharged, fatally wounding Hutchins.

Over a year later, on Jan. 31, the set’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was in charge of ensuring cast and crew safety when weapons were being used, along with Baldwin, were both charged with involuntary manslaughter as a result of the shooting. In a statement to CNN, District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said, “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.”

Altwies has accused Baldwin and Reed of  “failing to perform safety procedures that could have prevented the accident that resulted in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins,” according to CNN. A probable cause document, which detailed evidence of the case, said, “A training session for at least an hour or more in length was scheduled, but the actual training consisted of only approximately 30 minutes as according to Reed, Baldwin was distracted and talking on his cell phone to his family during the training.” Prosecutors have also said that Reed is being charged as well due to her failure to insist on Baldwin’s safety training, check each round loaded into the firearm, and follow appropriate safety measures for storing the ammunition. 

Furthermore, the probable cause statement also noted that “Gutierrez Reed 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.” Baldwin had previously claimed that he did not pull the trigger of the weapon; however, FBI testing has revealed that the gun could not have fired without the trigger being pulled.

Reed and Baldwin, if convicted, could face up to 18 months in jail and up to a $5,000 fine. Baldwin’s attorney, Lukas Nikas, released a statement which said, “This 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. 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.” As for Reed, her attornies believe she will be found innocent. In a statement given to CNN, attorney Jason Bowels said, “We were expecting the charges but they’re absolutely wrong as to Hannah – we expect that she will be found not guilty by a jury and she did not commit manslaughter. She has been emotional about the tragedy but has committed no crime.” Currently, the two have a court date set for Feb. 24 which will be conducted remotely.

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