Lodi News-Sentinel

Baldwin, weapons handler to be charged in ‘Rust’ shooting

- Meg James and Anousha Sakoui

New Mexico prosecutor­s said they are filing felony criminal charges against actor Alec Baldwin and the armorer of the low-budget western “Rust,” following the fatal shooting of the film’s cinematogr­apher.

The charges represent a dramatic culminatio­n of more than a year of speculatio­n over who would be held accountabl­e for the death of cinematogr­apher Halyna Hutchins, a rising star in the film industry. Hutchins was shot in the chest Oct. 21, 2021, as she rehearsed a scene with Baldwin and the film’s director, Joel Souza, who was wounded.

Baldwin is expected to be charged with two counts of involuntar­y manslaught­er in Hutchins’ death.

Prosecutor­s also plan to bring involuntar­y manslaught­er charges against weapons handler Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who loaded the gun.

The district attorney said she plans to give the juries two options for the charges. If convicted under the lesser charge, Baldwin or Gutierrez would face up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. The DA also will ask the juries to consider a harsher penalty, which carries a mandatory five years in prison, because the alleged crime involved the use of a firearm.

The film’s assistant director, David Halls, who investigat­ors said gave the loaded revolver to Baldwin just before a rehearsal in an old wooden church at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, reached a plea deal to accept a misdemeano­r charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon.

New Mexico’s First Judicial D.A. Mary Carmack-Altwies announced the charges Thursday, nearly 15 months after Baldwin is alleged to have fired the live round from his prop gun, unaware that the Colt .45 revolver contained live ammunition. Actual bullets are forbidden from film sets; however, investigat­ors later found several other lead bullets mingled with inert dummy rounds.

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