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Alec Baldwin to be Charged in Shooting

National

Alec Baldwin | Image by lev radin

Actor Alec Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter for an alleged accidental shooting during the filming of the movie Rust.

Baldwin and an armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, are being charged by the Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office for the shooting, which killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The charges were announced Thursday morning.

Assistant director Dave Halls pleaded guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon, according to First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.

The terms of the guilty plea include a suspended sentence as well as six months of probation.

In a statement on the charges, Carmack-Altwies said, “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”

The charges are expected to be filed toward the end of the month, Carmack-Altwies said.

The charges stem from an incident in New Mexico in which Baldwin shot a real bullet from a gun during filming.

The incident drew international attention due to Baldwin’s fame.

“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,” Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor appointed by the district attorney, said in a statement. “The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ film set. In New Mexico, there is no room for film sets that don’t take our state’s commitment to gun safety and public safety seriously.”

Baldwin was practicing a cross-draw at the time of the shooting.

The armorer, Gutierrez, loaded the gun from a box containing both live and dummy ammunition, responding deputies learned at the time of the shooting on October 21, 2021.

Halls reportedly told Baldwin the gun was “cold,” or unloaded, before handing it off.

Deputies said five live rounds were found throughout the set, including the place from where the mixed rounds had been taken.

Hutchins was airlifted to a nearby hospital but was pronounced dead.

Carmack-Altwies said the defendants will be “charged in the alternative” with two counts of involuntary manslaughter so as to allow the jury to find the defendants guilty or not guilty under each definition applying to the charge.

“The first charge can be referred to simply as involuntary manslaughter. For this charge to be proved there must be underlying negligence. … This charge also includes the misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a firearm, which would likely merge as a matter of law. The other charge is involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act. This charge requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death. This charge includes a firearm enhancement, or added mandatory penalty, because a firearm was involved.”

Both charges of involuntary manslaughter are fourth-degree felonies punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. Carmack-Altwies explained that the “firearm enhancement” under the second charge “makes the crime punishable by a mandatory five years in jail.”

Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, claimed in a statement to The Independent, “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.”

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