Prosecutors: Baldwin Was on His Phone During Gun Training

Actor, armorer have been formally charged with manslaughter in 'Rust' shooting
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2023 4:53 PM CST
Baldwin Formally Charged in Rust Shooting
In this image from video released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office, Alec Baldwin stands in costume and speaks with investigators following a fatal shooting on a movie set in Santa Fe, NM.   (Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

Alec Baldwin has, as expected, been formally charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of Rust in 2021. Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies filed charges against Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed on Tuesday, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports. The DA's office says jurors might have the option of finding the actor and Gutierrez-Reed, who was tasked with ensuring gun safety on the set, guilty of the lesser charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. According to a statement of probable cause, Baldwin did not attend pre-filming firearms training and only had minimal training after filming began, though Gutierrez-Reed had requested more.

According to the statement, Baldwin only received around 30 minutes training in a session that was supposed to last an hour because he "was distracted and talking on his cell phone to his family during the training." Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed have both maintained their innocence in the fatal shooting during rehearsals on Oct. 21, 2021, the AP reports. In a statement released before charges were filed, attorney Luke Nikas said Baldwin "had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun—or anywhere on the movie set." Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed could each face a sentence of up to 18 months, though that could go up to five years if they are convicted on a count that includes a firearms enhancement.

A probable cause statement against Guitierrez-Reed states that she was "reckless" in ensuring set safety and "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 DA's office said assistant director David Halls has agreed to plead guilty to the negligent use of a deadly weapon. "Today we have taken another important step in securing justice for Halyna Hutchins,” Carmack-Altwies said in a statement to CNN. "In New Mexico, no one is above the law and justice will be served." (More Alec Baldwin stories.)

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