Actor Alec Baldwin, who fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a rehearsal for the Western movie “Rust” in 2021, and the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, will each be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, prosecutors said Thursday.
Baldwin has maintained he was not aware the gun he fired on set contained a live round.
Baldwin’s attorney called the prosecutors’ decision “a terrible miscarriage of justice.”
Live updates: Alec Baldwin to be charged in fatal ‘Rust’ shooting
“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,” attorney Luke Nikas said.
“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.”
An attorney for Gutierrez Reed said he believes jurors will find his client not guilty.
“We were expecting the charges but they’re absolutely wrong as to Hannah – we expect that she will be found not guilty by a jury and she did not commit manslaughter,” attorney Jason Bowles said in a statement Thursday.
“She has been emotional about the tragedy but has committed no crime.”
The shooting has resulted in a whirlwind of finger-pointing and allegations of negligence from those involved.
Hutchins was struck and killed by a live round of ammunition fired from a prop gun being held by Baldwin, who maintains he did not pull the gun’s trigger. Director Joel Souza was also injured. Charges will not be filed against Souza, prosecutors said.
In the summary of the postmortem investigation into Hutchins’ death – which was formally signed by the New Mexico chief medical investigator – the cause of death is listed as “gunshot wound of chest,” and the manner of death is listed as an “accident.”
“Review of available law enforcement reports showed no compelling demonstration that the firearm was intentionally loaded with live ammunition on set. Based on all available information, including the absence of obvious intent to cause harm or death, the manner of death is best classified as accident,” the report concluded.
An FBI forensics report said the weapon could not be fired during FBI testing of its normal functioning without pulling the trigger while the gun was cocked. The report also noted the gun eventually malfunctioned during testing after internal parts fractured, which caused the gun to go off in the cocked position without pulling the trigger.
In an interview with CNN in August, Baldwin placed responsibility for the tragedy on Gutierrez Reed, who served as the armorer and props assistant on the film, and assistant director Dave Halls, who handed him the gun.
Halls signed a plea agreement “for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon,” the district attorney’s office announced in its statement Thursday. Prosecutors said the terms of that deal include six months of probation.
On Thursday, Halls’ attorney Lisa Tarraco released a statement in defense of her client, who does not face charges in connection with the tragedy.
“Absent no charges at all, this is the best outcome for Mr. Halls and the case,” Tarraco said. “He can now put this matter behind him and allow the focus of this tragedy to be on the shooting victims and changing the industry so this type of accident will never happen again. “
In November, Baldwin filed suit against Gutierrez Reed and Halls and other individuals associated with the film, according to a cross-complaint obtained by CNN.
Through their respective attorneys, both Gutierrez Reed and Halls maintained they were not at fault and accused Baldwin of deflecting blame onto others.
Gutierrez Reed also sued the movie’s gun and ammunition supplier and its founder – who deny wrongdoing – and alleged a cache of dummy ammunition was sold with live rounds mixed in.
In October, Hutchins’ family reached an undisclosed settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Baldwin and others involved in producing the film.
Matthew Hutchins, widower of Halyna Hutchins, described her death as a “terrible accident” in a statement at the time of the settlement. Production on “Rust” was to resume this month with Matthew Hutchins joining as an executive producer on the film as part of the agreement.