Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed have been charged with two counts each of involuntary manslaughter over the shooting death of assistant director Halyna Hutchins on the set of the western movie Rust in 2021. Santa Fe County district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced the charges this morning.
The Hollywood Reporter has the latest development in the story, which has resulted in a greater conversation about the safety, or lack thereof, found on Hollywood sets. The incident occurred on October 21, 2021, when a revolver in Baldwin‘s hand went off, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. Baldwin claims that he did not pull the trigger, but an FBI investigation found that the revolver was functioning properly, and would not have fired if properly handled. It was later found that the weapon, which was supposed to have contained only blanks, contained live ammunition. Additional live ammunition was found on set, which was plagued with safety issues and weapons-handling mishaps prior to Hutchins‘ death. Much of the blame has been laid on Gutierrez-Reed, daughter of longtime Hollywood armorer Thell Reed. Rust was only her second production as chief armorer.
Special prosecutor Andrea Reeb stated that “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. It’s that simple. The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the Rust film set.” In addition to Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed, assistant director Halls signed a plea agreement for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon, and was given a suspended sentence and six months of probation. Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed could face stiffer penalties. If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, they face eighteen months in jail and a $5,000 fine; if they are convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act, they face a mandatory five years in prison.
Baldwin also faces additional legal troubles, apart from the charges filed today. Script supervisor Mamie Mitchell has sued Baldwin for assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence. In November, a Los Angeles judge found that there was “extreme and outrageous conduct on the part of Baldwin”. Baldwin himself sued Gutierrez-Reed, Halls, ammunitions supplier Seth Kenney, and props master Sarah Zachry, accusing them of giving him a dangerous weapon. Halls countersued, blaming Baldwin and other crew members for the shooting. Despite all this, however, the production of Rust has resumed after a settlement with Hutchins‘ estate, with Hutchins‘ widower, Matthew Hutchins, as executive producer.
Stay tuned to Collider for future updates.