Amagansett actor Alec Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter following a 15-month investigation into the shooting death of a 42-year-old cinematographer on a movie set, a New Mexico prosecutor announced Thursday.
Baldwin was pointing a pistol at Halyna Hutchins while rehearsing his role in the Western movie Rust when the gun went off, killing her and wounding the director, Joel Souza, on October 21, 2021, officials have said.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza, who led the initial investigation into Hutchins’ death, described “a degree of neglect” on the film set, but he left decisions about charges to Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies after delivering in October a report on investigators’ findings, which did not specify how live ammunition wound up on the set.
A special investigator was tapped to handle the case against the actor, best known for his role in 30 Rock and impersonation of former President Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live. Baldwin has described the killing as a “tragic accident.”
He sought to clear his name by suing people involved in handling and supplying the loaded gun that was handed to him on the set. Baldwin, also a co-producer on Rust, said he was told the gun was safe.
In his lawsuit, Baldwin said that while working on camera angles with Hutchins during rehearsal for a scene, he pointed the gun in her direction and pulled back and released the hammer of the weapon, which discharged.
New Mexico’s Office of the Medical Investigator determined the shooting was an accident following the completion of an autopsy and a review of law enforcement reports.
New Mexico’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau has levied the maximum fine against Rust Movie Productions, based on a scathing narrative of safety failures, including testimony that production managers took limited or no action to address two misfires of blank ammunition on the set prior to the fatal shooting.
The armorer who oversaw firearms on the set, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, has been the subject of much of the scrutiny in the case, along with an independent ammunition supplier.
An attorney for Gutierrez Reed has said she did not put a live round in the gun that killed Hutchins, and she believes she was the victim of sabotage. Authorities said they have found no evidence of that.
Hutchins family previously settled a lawsuit against the film’s producers, The agreement sought to restart filming of the movie with her widower, Matthew Hutchins, as executive producer.
Alec Baldwin Is Leaving the Hamptons
In the more than a year since the shooting, Baldwin has spent much of his time away from the crowds in Vermont, where he bought an 18th century farm in Arlington last February.
After years in the Hamptons, he listed his Amagansett estate for $29 million in September 2022, and, showing he’s serious about leaving, recently cut that price down a touch under $25 million.
The New York Post also reports that the Baldwins recently sold a lake house in Cleveland, New York, and they are quietly attempting to sell their New York City penthouse in Greenwich Village, valued at $16 million.
-With Associated Press and Behind The Hedges