This tragic accident highlights the dangers of guns on set, even when they are supposed to be fake.
Alec Baldwin was formally charged with involuntary manslaughter for the “Rust” gun mishap, which resulted in the death of Halyna Hutchins, the director of photography, and injury to Joel Souza, the director.
After months of discussing whether district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies had proof that Baldwin committed a “crime of negligence” when a gun he was practicing with accidentally discharged a live round that killed Hutchins, she announced the charges.
On Tuesday, Baldwin was formally charged with involuntary manslaughter for the tragic gunshot, according to TMZ, which first reported the news. The district attorney even outlined a laundry list of safety violations for which she claims Baldwin is directly responsible.
As per the charge statement, the district attorney argued that even though Baldwin was aware of the exercise and should have had the armorer inspect the gun to ensure its safety, he continued to rely on the assistant director, who lacked the authority to approve the weapon’s usage.
Aside from that, the district attorney said Baldwin intended to receive “firearms training” but did not actually do so. The following 30 minutes of training were meant to be restricted, but he spent most of that time “speaking with his family.”
Moreover, the case’s investigator, Robert Shilling, released a statement in line with the charges, saying, “Many media interviews and law enforcement interviews were conducted by Baldwin, and he displayed very inconsistent accounts of what happened during the incident when firing the gun that killed Hutchins.”
He went on to say that Baldwin can be seen having his finger on the trigger and inside the trigger guard at various moments in the pictures and recordings that were used in the investigation. This correspondingly broke the rule to “never point a firearm, loaded or not, at another person.”
In addition, based on interviews and evidence, Shilling said that the actor had little experience with weapons on the set and that no safety conference was held on the day of the fatal incident.
And as a producer, he was aware that Hannah Guiterrez-Reed was hired as the leading armorer, although there was evidence to suggest she was not qualified, including the lack of any qualification, verifiable training, or union “card” for this profession.
Speaking of, Guiterrez-Reed was also charged with involuntary manslaughter. On the other hand, A misdemeanor charge of the negligent use of a deadly weapon has already been accepted by assistant director Dave Halls. Halls will complete a term with a suspension and spend a year on probation per the agreement.
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed each risk a sentence of five years in prison if proven guilty. Meanwhile, their respective attorneys have expressed that they intend to contest the allegations in court.
If you recall, the incident occurred in October 2022 at Bonanza Creek Ranch outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, when Baldwin was handling a gun that was believed to be loaded with a fake bullet. However, the gun discharged live ammunition and struck Hutchins, who later died from their injuries.
The charge comes after fellow “Rust” actor Douglas Stewart defends him by asserting that actors are not responsible for gun safety. He even stated that Baldwin was not directly involved in production’s routine operations or safety concerns. In Douglas’ opinion, Baldwin’s title was more about his “finances and compensation.”
In February 2022, a lawsuit was filed against the actor by the family of the late “Rust” cinematographer. He and the others were accused of breaking various industry standards to make movie sets safe. The complaint names approximately two dozen other defendants, including armorer Gutierrez Reed and assistant director Halls.
As part of the conditions of the settlement of his wrongful death lawsuit against the actor, Halyna’s widower Matt Hutchins is now listed as an EP on “Rust,” and production is scheduled to begin this month.
Gun safety on movie sets has come under scrutiny as a result of this fatal occurrence. All cast and crew members must have the necessary training to handle firearms safely, and all weapons must undergo regular maintenance and inspection.
All upcoming movie projects must take extra safety measures in light of this incident to protect everyone involved. Nothing like this is ever anticipated to occur. But regrettably, mishaps do occur. We can only hope that this tragedy will remind everyone always to take safety precautions seriously.
Reactions to Alec Baldwin Formally Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter In Fatal Shooting On "Rust" Set
Throw @alecbaldwin in prison for 20 years but I guess 5 years is a start— WaistlessAxe2023 (@WaistlessAxe) February 1, 2023
When it comes to Alec Baldwin, I will always stand behind him.— Bob Golen (@BobGolen) January 22, 2023