Charges against actor Alec Baldwin have been dropped in association with the fatal on-set shooting of a cinematographer during the filming of the movie “Rust.”
In October 2021, pro-gun control actor Baldwin fired a prop gun on a film set in New Mexico, mistakenly killing 42-year-old cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
In January 2023, Baldwin, 65, was criminally charged in the fatal shooting of Hutchins.
The District Attorney presiding over the case said that Baldwin displayed criminal negligence on the set, including failing to take required firearms training, not checking the firearm with the armorer, deviating from standard firearms protocol on set, putting his finger on the trigger of a real firearm when a replica should have been used instead, and a litany of other offenses that amounted to a “willful disregard for the safety of others” on set.
Although Baldwin claimed he never pulled the trigger on the gun, FBI investigators determined there was no way the gun could have fired.
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The DA charged Baldwin with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Investigators found additional safety violations around the set, including a combination of live rounds – which were not secured – and dummy bullets.
“Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was also charged, and assistant director David Halls agreed to plead guilty to the negligent use of a deadly weapon.
The initial prosecutor on the case, Andrea Reeb, condemned the lack of responsibility on set, saying, “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.”
Reeb later stepped down from the case following a challenge from Baldwin’s lawyers and was replaced by New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.
After the charges against Baldwin were dropped, his attorneys Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro said, “We are pleased with the decision to dismiss the case against Alec Baldwin and we encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic accident.”
The office of DA Carmack-Altwies declined to comment on the decision.
Gutierrez-Reed will appear at a preliminary hearing on May 3 and intends to plead not guilty.
Halls was sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation last month as part of his plea deal.
Filming for “Rust” has resumed at Yellowstone Ranch in Montana, where it will continue with the same cast and producers as before, including Baldwin.