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Alec Baldwin and gunman to be charged with manslaughter after fatal shooting of Halina Hutchins on set of ‘Rust’




CNN

Actor Alec Baldwin, who fatally shot a cameraman on the set of the 2021 western movie “Rust,” and the film’s gunman, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, will be charged with two counts of manslaughter, prosecutors said Thursday.

The family of Halina Hutchins, who was the cameraman on the film, thanked prosecutors for their decision.

“It is a comfort to the family that in New Mexico no one is above the law,” the family said in a statement released by attorney Brian J. Panish.

Baldwin claims he did not know the gun he fired during a rehearsal contained a live ammunition. His lawyer called the prosecutor’s decision a “terrible miscarriage of justice.”

“This decision misrepresents the tragic death of Halina Hutchins 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 set,” said attorney Luke Nikas.

“He relied on the professionals he worked with who assured him that the gun did not have live ammunition. We will fight these charges and win.

Live Updates: Alec Baldwin will be charged in the fatal shooting of ‘Rust’.

An attorney for Gutierrez Reed said he believes jurors will find his client not guilty.

“We expected the charges, but they are absolutely wrong about Hannah — we expect that she will be found not guilty by a jury and that she did not commit manslaughter,” attorney Jason Bowles said in a statement Thursday.

“She was emotional about the tragedy, but she committed no crime.”

Alec Baldwin and gunman to be charged with manslaughter after fatal shooting of Halina Hutchins on set of ‘Rust’

Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed each face two counts of involuntary manslaughter, so a jury can decide which specific charge might be more appropriate, New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Althuis said.

If found guilty, “they will only be convicted of one count,” the prosecutor said.

In both cases, the conviction is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, prosecutors said.

But one count would include a firearm enhancement or added mandatory sentence because a firearm is involved. In that case, the crime is punishable by a mandatory five years in prison, prosecutors said.

Hannah Gutierrez Reed is seen on body camera footage after the October 2021 shooting.

Charges against Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed will be formally filed by the end of this month, Carmack-Althuis said. Then she will not seek custody of the accused, the prosecutor said.

Baldwin and his legal team feel “blindsided” by the announcement, Nikas said.

They were given no indication that Baldwin would face criminal charges and “learned of the allegations in the media,” he added.

Carmack-Althuis told CNN that her office has been in “almost constant contact” with opposing attorneys “over the last six weeks or so.”

“They didn’t know exactly what was coming, but they were aware that we were considering charges and they were aware of what the planned charges were,” she said.

The district attorney said he believed “Rust” had a “really fast and loose set,” saying safety standards were lacking and “live rounds on set — they were mixed in with regular dummies.”

“No one was checking them, or at least not checking them consistently,” Carmack-Althuis said.

“And then they were somehow loaded into a gun, handed over to Alec Baldwin; he didn’t check on him, he didn’t do any of the things he should have done to make sure that he was safe or that everybody around him was safe. And then he pointed the gun at Halina Hutchins and pulled the trigger.

Baldwin was also a producer on “Rust” and therefore had additional responsibilities, the district attorney said.

“As a producer, he also had an obligation to make sure the set was safe,” Carmack-Althuis said. “And then as an actor that day, he had to check that gun, check those shells.”

Hutchins was struck and killed by a live round ammunition fired from a prop gun held by Baldwin, who claimed he did not pull the gun’s trigger.

Director Joel Souza was also shot and wounded. No charges will be filed against Souza in connection with the shooting.

In the summary of postmortem examination in Hutchins’ obituary — which was officially signed off by New Mexico’s chief medical examiner — the cause of death was listed as “gunshot wound to the chest” and the manner of death was listed as “accident.”

“A review of available law enforcement reports did not provide a conclusive demonstration that the firearm was intentionally loaded with live ammunition on set. Based on all available information, including the lack of apparent intent to cause harm or death, the manner of death is best classified as an accident,” the report concluded.

An FBI forensics report said the weapon could not be fired during FBI tests of its normal function without pulling the trigger while the gun was cocked. The report also notes that the gun eventually failed during testing after internal parts fractured, causing the gun to go off in the cocked position without pulling the trigger.

The shooting led to a flurry of finger-pointing and accusations of negligence by those involved.

In an interview with CNN in August, Baldwin responsibility placed about the tragedy with Gutierrez Reed, who served as the film’s gunsmith and props assistant, and assistant director Dave Halls, who handed him the gun.

Halls signed a plea agreement “to a charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement Thursday. Prosecutors said the terms of that deal included six months of probation and a suspended sentence.

On Thursday, Halls’ attorney, Lisa Torraco, released a statement defending her client.

“In the absence of any charges, this is the best outcome for Mr. Halls and the case,” Torraco said. “Now he can put this matter behind him and allow the focus of this tragedy to be on the victims of the shooting and change the industry so that this type of accident never happens again.” ”

In November Baldwin filed a lawsuit against Gutierrez Reed and Halls and others associated with the film, according to a counter-complaint obtained by CNN.

Through their respective attorneys, both Gutierrez Reed and Halls have pleaded not guilty and accused Baldwin of shifting the blame.

Gutierrez Reed also filed suit supplier of weapons and ammunition for the film and its founder – who deny wrongdoing – and alleged that a cache of dummy ammunition was sold with mixed live ammunition.

In October, the Hutchins family reached an undisclosed settlement in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed against Baldwin and others involved in the film’s production.

Matthew Hutchins, Halina Hutchins’ widower, described her death as a “horrific accident” in a statement during the settlement. Production on “Rust” was set to resume this month, with Matthew Hutchins joining as an executive producer on the film as part of the deal.

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled the last name of David Halls’ attorney. It’s Torako.


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