Last October it was announced that the producers of the Western film Rust had settled down a wrongful death lawsuit over the October 2021 incident that took the life of the film’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins. At the time, producers claimed that with the case settled, the film would indeed resume production, with Hutchins’ husband, Matthew, now listed as an executive producer on the project.
But that was the civil case for Hutchins’ death. At the time, the local district attorney had not yet decided whether to file criminal charges in the incident, in which Hutchins died after being hit by a live round fired from a gun held by Rust star and producer Alec Baldwin. (Rust director Joel Souza was injured in the same incident but survived.)
Today, New Mexico prosecutors announced that Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter for his role in the incident. So will Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer on the film and the person responsible for the firearms on Rust set.
Andrea Reeb, a special prosecutor assigned to the case, said this in a statement:
If any 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. The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for security on the ‘Rust’ film set. New Mexico has no place for film sets that do not take our state’s commitment to gun safety and public safety seriously.
(David Halls was assistant director on Rust; he has pleaded guilty to one count of negligent use of a deadly weapon.)
In an interview not long after the incident, Baldwin claimed he had no idea how a live round ended up inside the gun. He also insisted he didn’t even pull the trigger of the weapon during the incident, saying the gun went off while he was practicing a shot and cocking the gun’s hammer. Gutierrez-Reed, Rust‘s armorer, has previously filed a lawsuit against the company that supplied her with the film’s ammunition, claiming that they should only supply her with “dummy” rounds. It is not yet clear whether it will ever be clear exactly how live rounds ended Rust set and in the gun that killed Hutchins.