American actor Alec Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter related to a deadly 2021 shooting on the set of the western film Rust, authorities announced Thursday.
Prosecutors in the state of New Mexico are also charging Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was in charge of firearms on the set, with involuntary manslaughter.
Gutierrez-Reed served as Rust’s armorer while Baldwin acted in and produced the film, which has not moved forward after the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will each face two counts of involuntary manslaughter, New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced in a statement.
“After a thorough review of the evidence and the laws of the state of New Mexico, I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the ‘Rust’ film crew,” she said. “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”
Hutchins died in October 2021 after a prop gun held by Baldwin went off, fatally wounding the cinematographer and injuring the director when it was discharged during a rehearsal.
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed face up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine for the involuntary manslaughter charge under New Mexico’s law. The charges also include what is known as a firearm enhancement, which makes the crime punishable by a mandatory five-year prison term.
“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,” said Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor appointed by Carmack-Altwies to the case. “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.”
Halls, the film’s assistant director, pleaded guilty to one charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon and was given a suspended sentence and six months probation.
The charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed are expected to be filed by the end of the month.
“There is a very clear process for pursuing justice in this case,” said Carmack-Altwies. “We are committed to upholding the integrity of that process to ensure equal justice under the law.”
Source: Anadolu Agency