Alec Baldwin Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter

American actor and comedian Alec Baldwin faces involuntary manslaughter charges after firing a live gun on the set of his movie, fatally shooting cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in October of 2021.

If Baldwin is found guilty, he could face two possible charges, one for up to 18 months or another with a five year sentence.

The gun was being used as a prop on set but failed to be checked for live ammunition by Baldwin or by Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the movie’s armorer. The L.A. Times reports that hours before the shooting, six union camera crew workers walked off set as a result of unsafe working conditions, long hours, and late paychecks.

An interview with Lane Luper, a camera first assistant further explained, “Everything was about the schedule and the budget.” Others described the production as a “fast and loose set.”

Just a few days before the fatal shooting, the set experienced two accidental gun discharges. Although live ammunition is not commonly used on movie sets, around 500 rounds were removed according to the New York Times. The Cut elaborated, “Usually, production uses blanks to re-create the effect of firing a gun, sometimes with added powder to amp up the effect of the blast onscreen. But blanks can do damage, too— [especially] when fired at close range.”

In an interview a few months later with ABC News, Baldwin claimed he was not to blame for the accident and that he did not pull the trigger. He added, “I feel that someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is…but I know it’s not me.” He was supposedly rehearsing with a pistol for an upcoming scene. Further on-air interviews revealed that Baldwin claimed to never aim a gun while on set, unless the cinematographer (Hutchins) was directing him.

Baldwin also took to Twitter to speak out, “There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours.”

Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies stated, “There is a very clear process for pursuing justice in this case…We are committed to upholding the integrity of that process to ensure equal justice under the law.”

While some crew members spoke out against the set’s unsafe conditions, others disagree. Text messages between costumer Terese Magpale Davis and Alec Baldwin described her feelings as “so sick of this narrative.” According to Davis, the production crew had regular safety meetings and worked less than 12 hours.

She further explained, “I worked on this movie. The story being spun of us being overworked and surrounded by unsafe, chaotic conditions is bullshit.”

Halyna Hutchins was just 42 when she died in an Albuquerque hospital. She is survived by her husband, Matthew Hutchins and her nine-year-old son, Andros. CNN released the statement, “She died doing what she loved on the set of the film Rust.” Her husband reached a settlement agreement in the wrongful death lawsuit and stated that filming would resume in January.