Prosecutors claim Alec Baldwin skipped firearm safety sessions and was distracted by family on set of Rust
Alec Baldwin missed mandatory firearms training before filming began on Rust and was distracted by his family on set, according to court filings.
Prosecutors in New Mexico filed formal charges of involuntary manslaughter against Baldwin, 64, and armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed over the death of Halyna Hutchins on Tuesday.
In a probable cause statement, the Santa Fe district attorney’s office set out a lengthy list of alleged reckless failures in firearms safety over a 10-day period of filming on the low-budget western, which Baldwin was an actor and producer on.
Hutchins was fatally shot and director Joel Souza wounded when a gun Baldwin was rehearsing with discharged at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe in October 2021.
The court filing alleges that Baldwin did not show up for pre-filming firearms training session, was inexperienced in the “cross-draw” technique allegedly used when Hutchins was fatally shot, and had been preoccupied with family during filming.
“A training session for at least an hour or more in length was scheduled, but the actual training consisted of only approximately 30 minutes as according to (Gutierrez-Reed), Baldwin was distracted and talking on his cell phone to his family during the training,” Robert Shilling, a special investigator for the Santa Fe district attorney’s office, said in the probable cause statement.
Baldwin also failed to demand safety checks between Gutierrez-Reed and himself to confirm the gun didn’t contain live rounds, prosecutors say.
“Baldwin’s deviation from known standards, practices and protocol directly caused the fatal death of Hutchins,” Mr Shilling added.
Prosecutors have filed two charges of involuntary manslaughter against Baldwin, as both an actor and a producer.
As a producer on the film, Baldwin was culpable for hiring Gutierrez-Reed, who prosecutors say was an inexperienced and uncertified armourer.
“As the producer of a firearm intense film, evidence shows that Baldwin allowed, through acts or omissions, the hiring of inexperienced and unqualified (Gutierrez-Reed) for this production, failed to mitigate or establish more precautions to protect against (Gutierrez-Reed’s) inexperience, or failed to demand the minimum safety standards, protocols, and requirements on set,” Mr Shilling said.
Baldwin’s attorney Luke Nikas did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a previous statement to The Independent, he said the decision to charge Baldwin “distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice.”
Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney Jason Bowles told The Hollywood Reporter that she had “pleaded to provide more training” and been “denied and brushed aside”.
Assistant director David Halls pled guilty to a charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon and will receive a suspended sentence and six months probation.