‘Rust’ Shooting: Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed Face 2 Counts Each of Involuntary Manslaughter

The film’s assistant director, David Halls, will plead guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon

Alec Baldwin's role in an on-set death on "Rust" highlighted the issue of crew safety.
Alec Baldwin's role in an on-set death on "Rust" highlighted the issue of crew safety.

“Rust” producer Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will each be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter for the fatal 2021 shooting of Halyna Hutchins. A New Mexico district attorney’s office will file charges by the end of the month, First Judicial DA Mary Carmack-Altwies said Thursday in a statement.

Assistant director David Halls has signed a plea agreement for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. Under the terms of the agreement, he faces a suspended sentence and six months of probation.

No charges were filed related to the non-fatal shooting of the film’s director, Joel Souza.

“After a thorough review of the evidence and the laws of the state of New Mexico, I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the ‘Rust’ film crew,” Carmack-Altwies said. “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”

Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor appointed to the case, said: “If any one of these three people—Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed or David Halls—had done their job, Halyna Hutchins would be alive today. It’s that simple.”

She continued, “The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ film set. In New Mexico, there is no room for film sets that don’t take our state’s commitment to gun safety and public safety seriously.”

Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will be “charged in the alternative,” meaning that a jury “would decide not simply if they were guilty, but under which definition of involuntary manslaughter they were guilty.”

In New Mexico, involuntary manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony, punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. Because a firearm was involved in the crime, the second charge is subject to an additional mandatory five-year jail sentence in what’s known as a “firearm enhancement.” Also unlike the first charge, the second requires proof there was more than simple negligence involved.

After charges are filed, a judge will decide whether the case will go to trial. Preliminary hearings are typically scheduled within 60 days of the filing, according to the statement.

The decision comes more than a year after cinematographer Hutchins was killed on the Santa Fe set in Oct. 2021. While preparing for a scene, actor-producer Baldwin fired a Colt .45 revolver, resulting in a gunshot wound to Hutchins’ chest. The bullet passed through her body before lodging in the shoulder of Souza.

Baldwin maintains that he did not pull the trigger and was told that the gun was “cold,” meaning that it wasn’t loaded with live ammunition. An August 2022 FBI report found that the gun couldn’t have been fired “without a pull of the trigger while the working internal components were intact and functional.” The forensics report stated that the gun eventually dysfunctioned during testing, causing it to fire off in the cocked position without the trigger being pulled.

Baldwin blames the tragedy on the crew’s negligence. In November 2022 he filed a complaint that named Gutierrez-Reed, Halls, prop supplier Seth Kenney, prop master Sarah Zachry and the company PDQ Arm and Prop as “cross-defendants” to a 2021 suit filed brought against him by the film’s script supervisor Mamie Mitchell.  

The actor reached a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Hutchins’ family in Oct. 2022. In that agreement, parties established a timeline for the production to return to filming — starting in Jan. 2023. Hutchins’ widowed husband also boarded the project as an executive producer.

“Rust” follows a 13 year-old boy in 1880s Kansas who accidentally shoots and kills a local rancher. Grizzled outlaw Harland Rust (Baldwin), the boy’s grandfather helps him escape jail. The two embark on a journey through New Mexico with a U.S. Marshal and a bounty hunter hot on their trail.