Alec Baldwin indicted by grand jury for involuntary manslaughter over deadly 'Rust' shooting

Prosecutors had initially dropped his case last year.

January 19, 2024, 3:12 PM

A grand jury has indicted Alec Baldwin on an involuntary manslaughter charge in the deadly shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of "Rust," months after prosecutors dropped their case against the actor over her death.

The indictment charges Baldwin, 65, with involuntary manslaughter (negligent use of a firearm) or, in the alternative, involuntary manslaughter (without due caution or circumspection), both fourth-degree felonies.

In response to Friday's indictment, Baldwin's attorneys, Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro of Quinn Emanuel, said, "We look forward to our day in court."

Special prosecutors investigating the "Rust" shooting said in October 2023 that they believed Baldwin had "criminal culpability" in the deadly shooting. They said at the time they planned to present the case to the grand jury to determine whether probable cause existed to charge him.

The actor was practicing a cross-draw on the Santa Fe set in October 2021 when the gun fired, striking Hutchins and director Joel Souza, who suffered a non-life-threatening injury.

Baldwin was initially charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, before special prosecutors dropped the case against the actor in April 2023. At the time, they noted their investigation remained "active and ongoing."

The attorneys representing the family of Hutchins and the film's script supervisor in civil lawsuits over the shooting said in a statement Friday they "are looking forward to the criminal trial which will determine if he should be convicted for the untimely death of Halyna."

The charge carries a sentence of up to 18 months in prison if convicted.

Alec Baldwin speaks regarding the accidental shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, and wounded director Joel Souza on the set of the film "Rust," in Manchester, Vt., Oct. 30, 2021.
Mega/Getty Images, FILE

"Rust" armorer Hannah Gutierrez was also charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

She faces an additional charge of tampering with evidence, with state prosecutors claiming she handed off a small bag of cocaine following her interview with police the day of the shooting.

In mid-November 2023, she was also charged with unlawful carrying of a firearm in a licensed liquor establishment for an unrelated incident cited as occurring on Oct. 1, 2021, several weeks before the "Rust" on-set shooting.

Gun enhancement charges initially filed in the case against Gutierrez and Baldwin were ultimately dropped last year.

This aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Oct. 23, 2021, used for the film "Rust."
Jae C. Hong/AP, FILE

Gutierrez's attorneys sought to have her charges dismissed, arguing there were jurisdictional and structural issues with the case tied to a change in prosecutors and alleged prejudicial statements made to the media.

State District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer denied the motion in August 2023, saying any jurisdictional issues were cured after prosecutors filed an amended criminal information. The judge also said the defense failed to demonstrate "actual and substantial prejudice" to warrant such an "exceptional" remedy as dismissing the charges, and that extrajudicial statements are not something "that need to be addressed at this point."

Jury selection in her trial is scheduled to begin on Feb. 21 in Santa Fe County. The trial is expected to start on Feb. 22 and last two weeks.

David Halls, the first assistant director for the film, was sentenced in March 2023 to six months unsupervised probation as part of a plea deal. Halls, who handed the Colt .45 revolver to Baldwin prior to the shooting, was charged with negligent use of a deadly weapon.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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