The celebrated cinematographer lost her life on the set of the Western film “Rust” on October 26, 2021, while the crew was filming at the Bonanza Creek Ranch. While rehearsing a scene inside a church, a gun that was held by Alec Baldwin went off and killed Hutchins. Director Joel Souza was also hospitalized.
On the morning of Thursday, January 19, months after the police and FBI investigation had wrapped, the Santa Fe D.A. announced that they will press criminal charges against the “30 Rock” actor and the “Rust” armorer.
Hayla Hutchins’ Family Responds To Alec Baldwin & ‘Rust’ Armorer Facing Involuntary Manslaughter Charges
On Thursday morning, the Santa Fe DA charged both Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed with involuntary manslaughter in Halyna Hutchins’ death. First assistant director Dave Halls pled guilty to the negligent use of a deadly weapon.
Andrea Reeb, a special prosecutor appointed to the case, said in a statement, “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,” Reeb 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.”
First assistant director Dave Halls pled guilty to the negligent use of a deadly weapon. It is possible that Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed could face a maximum of eighteen months in prison if convicted.
Halyna Hutchins Family Says ‘No One Is Above The Law’
JUST IN: Halyna Hutchins’ family responds to charges filed against Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed: “It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law.” https://t.co/vnSH060e7W pic.twitter.com/oeRBDAPhIW
— ABC News (@ABC) January 19, 2023
The Hutchins family put out a brief statement on Thursday morning only about an hour after the news broke.
“We want to thank the Santa Fe sheriff and the district attorney for concluding their thorough investigation and determining that charges for involuntary manslaughter are warranted for the killing of Halyna Hutchins with conscious disregard for human life,” the statement began.
It continued, “Our independent investigation also supports that charges are warranted. It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law.”
Alec Baldwin’s Lawyer Says Decision ‘Distorts’ Halyna Hutchins’ Death
In his own statement, Baldwin’s lawyer, Luke Nikas, wrote, “This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice. Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the movie set.”
“He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds,” Nikas continued. “We will fight these charges, and we will win.”
As The Blast previously reported, armorer Gutierrez-Reed has also been vocal about her distrust in the police investigation. After the Santa Fe police department decided not to do DNA testing on live rounds found on set, she criticized the “serious problem” in their investigation.
“The primary question in this case from the beginning has been where did the live rounds that ended upon the Rust set come from?” Gutierrez-Reed said in a statement. “As can be seen from the attached emails, the Sheriff’s office made a conscious decision not to pursue this question at all by refusing to ask the FBI to test any of the rounds for fingerprints or DNA.”
She went on to say that, since law enforcement officials know “for certain” there were live rounds on set, “It is inconceivable that the Sheriff would not seek answers to this fundamental question and it raises a serious problem with the entire investigation.”
Gutierrez-Reed’s lawer Jason Bowles released a statement, saying, “Hannah is, and has always been, very emotional and sad about this tragic accident. But she did not commit involuntary manslaughter.”
“These charges are the result of a very flawed investigation, and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts,” Bowles added. “We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury.”
Alec Baldwin has also expressed distrust in the police investigation, which was released in a 551-page report last year.
On December 10, 2021, Alec sent a text message to Matt Hutchins, the husband of the late Halyna Hutchins. “Important for you to keep in mind: The Santa Fe Sheriffs’ office may lack both the skill and the will to properly investigate the sabotage angle,” he wrote. “I’m told their agenda is to write it off as an accident and throw it to the civil courts.”
Matthew Hutchins did file a wrongful death lawsuit in February but it was settled in October. Matt became an executive producer of the film as part of the settlement. It was supposed to resume filming this month in January, but no details have been announced at this time.