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Alec Baldwin charged for ‘Rust’ shooting

Actor and producer Alec Baldwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Rust film cinematographer Halyna Hutchins Jan. 31. Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore/Flickr

On Jan. 31, actor and producer Alec Baldwin was formally charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of “Rust” film cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. The shooting took place Oct. 21, 2021, just south of Santa Fe, NM at Bonanza Creek Ranch, which has since brought controversy regarding the safety procedures on set.  

“Rust” armorer Hannah Guiterrez-Reed is also being charged with involuntary manslaughter due to her inability to make the “Rust set” a safer environment for the cast and crew,according to the probable cause statement against Gutierrez-Reed:  

“Gutierrez-Reed was reckless in her responsibility to ensure set safety with the firearm. She failed to correct Baldwin from committing the dangerous and reckless safety violations by pointing the weapon at/towards people and by having his finger on the trigger.” 

The day of the shooting, Gutierrez-Reed retrieved the Colt .45 revolver from a prop truck safely without performing the proper safety procedures, which included handing the gun to Assistant Director David Halls, neither of whom checked the rounds in the weapon.  

Halls also faced charges for negligent use of a deadly weapon but signed a plea agreement where he is expected to serve a suspended sentence and six months of probation. According to the New Mexico District Attorney’s Office, this plea agreement will not be released until it receives the approval of a judge. 

Throughout the duration of the investigation, Baldwin has maintained his stance which he never actually pulled the trigger and was unaware that the revolver contained live rounds. In a December 2021 interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Baldwin stated he was following directions from Hutchins at the time of the shooting. 

“So, I take the gun and I start to cock the gun,” he said. “I’m not going to pull the trigger. I cock the gun, I go, ‘Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?’ And then I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun goes off. I let go of the hammer of the gun – the gun goes off.” 

The bullet went through Hutchins and struck Director Joel Souza, although Baldwin expresses in his ABC interview he felt no guilt. 

 “I feel that someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me,” Baldwin said.  

Baldwin expressed deep remorse for Hutchins’ death, as he struggled emotionally to get through the days following the tragic events. However, at the time of the ABC interview he seemed hopeful criminal charges would not come.  

Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies is pressing the charges of involuntary manslaughter on Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed. Most notable in the probable cause statement filed by prosecutors was the FBI analysis of the weapon, which stated the weapon could not fire without the trigger being pulled.  

Baldwin’s claim, stating he never pulled the trigger contradicts the FBI weapon analysis, making it an important part of the investigation into Baldwin’s actions that day. As for Baldwin, he could care less about his career, stating he cannot imagine doing a movie involving a gun in it again. 

The events on the Rust set inspired actors like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Olivia Wilde to take steps towards making movie sets safe such as using only fake guns.  


“Guns are in films and television shows because that’s what audiences want,” said Baldwin in an interview with ABC. “I’m only saying that whatever steps we have to take to put another layer of security so that doesn’t happen again.” 

Nicholas Maes may be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributor
Nicholas Maes
Nicholas Maes, Editor-in-Chief
Nicholas Maes is the editor-in-chief for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in history with a minor in commercial music. He plans to continue his academic career in history after earning his bachelor's degree.
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Alec Baldwin charged for ‘Rust’ shooting