Renowned actor and producer Alec Baldwin was formally charged with involuntary manslaughter for the shooting that caused the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins while they were filming on the set of the movie Rush.
Mary Carmack-Altwies, U.S. Attorney for the First Judicial District of New Mexico, presented criminal charges against the artist on Tuesday, highlighting in the indictment that Baldwin has already participated in more than four dozen films in which firearms were used and therefore, he was already more than familiar with the protocol.
She also highlighted that there were a number of obvious safety lapses and that the film armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, should have been present to check that the gun was safe, rather than relying on the assistant director, David Halls.
BREAKING: Actor Alec Baldwin and a weapons specialist have been formally charged with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on a New Mexico movie set, according to court documents filed by prosecutors Tuesday. https://t.co/hzkf2zJfGw pic.twitter.com/cXaoTWoRSx
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 31, 2023
According to Carmack-Altwies, Baldwin should have received training for at least half an hour on firearms protocols and added that as the film's producer, he should never have allowed Gutierrez-Reed to be hired because she lacked the necessary training and experience.
He violated the first rule of shooting safety, never point a firearm, loaded or unloaded, at another person, said the prosecutor after reviewing the audiovisual material from the authorities in which the artist is allegedly seen with his finger on the trigger.
Now, both Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed could face trial with the possibility of up to five years in prison.
For his part, David Halls has already signed a plea agreement with the prosecution for the charge of "negligent use of a deadly weapon" and six months probation.
Baldwin's attorney responds
Luke Nikas, the actor's lawyer, said that this decision distorts the tragic death of Halyna Hutchins and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice, as he claims Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun.
"He trusted the professionals he worked with, who assured him that there was no ammunition in the gun," he said.