Rust shooting charges – live: DA to announce if Alec Baldwin will be charged in Halyna Hutchins’ death

A New Mexico prosecutor is set to announce whether Alec Baldwin and other Rust film crew members will be charged over the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on Thursday (19 January).

It will be “be a solemn occasion”, a spokesperson for district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said of the upcoming verdict.

The decision comes more than 15 months after the fatal shooting in October 2021, which occurred when a prop gun held by Baldwin discharged on set. A single bullet struck director Joel Souza in the shoulder before fatally striking Hutchins in the chest.

Baldwin has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the shooting. “I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them. Never,” he told ABC News in December 2021.

The actor has maintained that he was told the gun was “cold”, meaning it had no live ammunition, and that as he cocked the gun it went off without him pulling the trigger.

Follow below for live updates ahead of Thursday’s verdict.

Key points

  • What could Baldwin be charged with?

  • What happened on the Rust set?

  • Charges set to be announced by Santa Fe prosecutor

Who was Halyna Hutchins?

01:45 , Tom Murray

Halyna Hutchins died aged 42 on 21 October 2021 after being shot on the Rust set by a prop gun.

Born in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, in 1979, Halyna grew up on the Soviet base “surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines.”

She received a graduate degree in international journalism from the Kyiv National University and worked on British documentary productions in Europe, before graduating from the Los Angeles-based American Film Institute Conservatory in 2015.

Her portfolio includes A Luv Tale (2021), The Mad Hatter (2021) and Blindfire (2020).

She is survived by her husband Matt and their nine-year-old son Andros.

What was ‘Rust’ about?

01:15 , Tom Murray

Rust ironically tells the story of a 13-year-old boy in 1880s Kansas who accidentally shot and killed a local rancher.

It was inspired by a true story about the youngest person ever hanged in the American West, Baldwin has said.

The film with a modest budget of $6m (£4.9m) was reportedly a “passion project” for Baldwin, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Baldwin plays the boy’s grandfather – an outlaw named Harland Rust – who breaks the boy out of jail and sets off across New Mexico.

Alec Baldwin practising drawing his revolver on the set of the Rust movie (Santa Fe County Sheriff/PA)
Alec Baldwin practising drawing his revolver on the set of the Rust movie (Santa Fe County Sheriff/PA)

FBI forensics found that the gun 'functioned normally’

00:03 , Tom Murray

A reminder that while Baldwin denies pulling the trigger on the .45 Colt replica revolver that killed Hutchins, FBI forensic analysis found that the gun “functioned normally” and would not fire without the trigger being pulled.

What could Baldwin be charged for?

Wednesday 18 January 2023 23:32 , Tom Murray

In September last year, district attorney Carmack-Altwies announced four “possible defendants” including Baldwin and three others in the criminal probe into the case.

When contacted by the Santa Fe New Mexican at the time, she said the list of possible charges at ranged from homicide to violations of state gun statutes.

Other individuals named in police affidavits in relation to the criminal investigation are the armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, assistant director David Halls, and a local prop shop owner Seth Kenney.

The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department initiated an investigation to determine how a live round was placed in the gun, why crew members had failed to notice the round, and why the gun fired.

Hilaria Baldwin recently discussed telling her children about the shooting

Wednesday 18 January 2023 23:05 , Tom Murray

In an interview with Extra last month, Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria, shared how her nine-year-old daughter, Carmen, reacted to the news of the fatal shooting.

“When I [told] them,” she continued, “Carmen started saying to me ‘Why are you telling me this? Why are you telling me this? I want to un-know this’… and Alec said, ‘I want to un-know it too.’”

“I think everyone wants to un-know it, and we can’t because it’s real,” she added.

Read more:

Hilaria Baldwin reveals daughter’s sad reaction to father Alec’s ‘Rust’ shooting

Alec Baldwin sued three crew members over Hutchins’s death last year

Wednesday 18 January 2023 22:39 , Tom Murray

In November last year, Baldwin filed a lawsuit placing the responsibility for the tragic shooting on the film’s armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, first assistant director David Halls, and prop master Sarah Zachry, as well as weapons supplier Seth Kenney and his company PDQ Arm & Prop.

Baldwin alleged that Gutierrez-Reed “failed to check the bullets or the gun carefully” and that Halls announced the gun was safe for him to use without inspecting it properly.

In the filing, the 64-year-old also accused Zachry of failing to “disclose that Gutierrez-Reed had been acting recklessly offset and was a safety risk to those around her”.

Read more:

Alec Baldwin files lawsuit to ‘clear his name’ in fatal Rust shooting

What happened?

Wednesday 18 January 2023 22:12 , Tom Murray

It’s been over a year since Hutchins died soon after being struck by a bullet on the Rust set.

A media storm followed the shooting and revealed inquests into the set conditions of the movie.

The Independent’s Bevan Hurley has put together a one-sheet breaking down exactly what we know about the shooting and the aftermath that followed.

Read it here:

What changed in the Alec Baldwin shooting case?

Prosecutors announce decision to come

Wednesday 18 January 2023 21:05 , Tom Murray

The District Attorney in Santa Fe announced that a decision would be made as to whether criminal charges will be filed against Rust crew members, including Alec Baldwin, on Thursday (19 January).

The verdict will be given at 9 am Mountain Time (4 pm GMT).

“Regardless of the District Attorney’s decision, the announcement will be a solemn occasion,” a DA spokesperson said.

Read more:

Santa Fe district attorney to announce Rust shooting criminal charges