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Alec Baldwin And Armorer Charged In "Rust" Shooting

Alec Baldwin Set Shooting
Jae C. Hong/AP
FILE - This aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021 where the fatal shooting occurred on the set of the movie "Rust." (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Actor Alec Baldwin and a weapons specialist will be charged with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer who was killed on the  “Rust” movie set just outside of  Santa Fe.

New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies issued a statement Thursday morning announcing the charges against Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez- Reed, who supervised weapons on the set of the Western “Rust” citing a “criminal disregard for safety.” 

Halyna Hutchins died shortly after being wounded during rehearsals at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe in October of 2021.
Baldwin was pointing a pistol at Hutchins when the gun went off, killing her and wounding the director, Joel Souza.

Carmack-Altwies says assistant director David Halls, who handed Baldwin the gun, has signed an agreement to plead guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon.
Involuntary manslaughter can involve a killing that happens while a defendant is doing something that is lawful but dangerous and is acting negligently or without caution.

The charge is a fourth-degree felony, punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. The charges also include a provision that could result in a mandatory five years in jail because the offense was committed with a gun.

Carmack-Altwies says charges will be filed by the end of January, and that Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed will be issued a summons to appear in court. She says prosecutors will forgo a grand jury and rely on a judge to determine if there is probable cause to move toward trial.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza, who led the initial investigation into Hutchins' death, described “a degree of neglect” on the film set. 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 as a “tragic accident.”

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.

New Mexico’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau  levied the maximum fine against Rust Movie Productions, based on evidence of safety failures, including testimony that production managers took limited or no action to address two misfires of blank ammunition on the set prior to the fatal shooting.

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.

Kevin Meerschaert comes to Santa Fe from Jacksonville, Florida where he spent the past 20 years covering politics, government and pretty much everything else.