Alec Baldwin Charged for Involvement in Fatal Shooting

By Kendall McElroy

Thursday, October 21 of 2021, film cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot on the set of low-budget western, Rust, set to come out the following year. Actor Alec Baldwin, along with set armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, are set to stand trial for felony manslaughter charges.  

As recounted by witnesses, Hutchins and Baldwin were rehearsing a scene when Hutchins was fatally struck in the chest with a Colt.45 revolver. Director Joel Souza was also injured but has since recovered and stands to face no charges. Baldwin maintains he did not pull the trigger, shifting the blame towards Gutierrez-Reed who had loaded the gun. 

Baldwin even went as far as to attempt to sue fellow crew members for not disclosing whether or not the firearm was loaded. However, as stated by New Mexico District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, “An actor does not get a free pass.” Baldwin is expected to be charged with two counts of felony manslaughter, while Gutierrez-Reed will be charged secondarily.  

While Hutchins’ tragic death was ruled ‘accidental,’ this not does not negate its criminality. According to District Attorney Carmack-Altwies, the set of Rust was a highly dangerous set, with most professionals conducting the shoot with negligence. Live rounds were mixed up with dummy rounds. “There was such a lack of safety and safety standards on that set […] There were live rounds on set,” DA Carmack-Altwies relays, “Nobody was checking those or at least they weren’t checking them consistently. And then they somehow got loaded into a gun handed off to Alec Baldwin. He didn’t check it. He didn’t do any of the things that he was supposed to do to make sure that he was safe or that anyone around him was safe. And then he pointed the gun at Halyna Hutchins and he pulled the trigger.”

As mentioned by Carmack-Altwies, not only is Baldwin charged as an actor, but as a producer, furthering his culpability and negligence in his inability to further follow safety precautions. The mere fact that live rounds were present on set acts as a red herring, further implicating the dangerous conditions Rust was being shot under. Point being, live rounds should have never been on set to begin with and the lack of regulation and safety precaution follow-through resulted in a loaded gun being handled on set. 

DA Carmack-Altwies aims to ensure justice to the Hutchins’ family and the safe future of movie productions set in New Mexico. “In New Mexico, we want you to come here. We want you to film movies but we want you to do it safely. And we certainly want to get justice for anyone that is a victim… We want to get justice for Halyna Hutchins.”

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