Alec Baldwin to face involuntary manslaughter charges over 'Rust' shooting
American actor Alec Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter over the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set of Rust. Reportedly, the film's armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed will also be charged. In 2021, Baldwin was rehearsing a scene on the set of the movie Rust, when the accidental shooting happened with a prop gun, leading to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Baldwin and Reed could possibly face prison sentences
New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies issued a statement on Thursday stating, "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." If convicted, they could face up to 18 months in jail.
What is involuntary manslaughter?
Distinguished from other forms of homicide, involuntary manslaughter can be understood as an unintentional killing that is caused either by recklessness or criminal negligence. It's in the lowest category of homicide. It invites a prison sentence of up to 18 months and a $5,000 fine.
Baldwin's lawyer called the decision 'a terrible miscarriage of justice'
Baldwin's lawyer Luke Nikas regarded the decision as "a terrible miscarriage of justice." He wrote, "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 didn't have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win."
What exactly happened on the set of 'Rust'?
Reportedly, on October 21, 2021, on the set of Rust near Santa Fe at Creek Ranch, New Mexico, Baldwin was rehearsing a scene with a prop gun, while pointing it toward the camera lens. While rehearsing, he shot the gun and it struck cinematographer Hutchins in the chest and film director Joel Souza in the shoulder. Hutchins died in the hospital in Albuquerque.
After 'Rust' shooting case, gun-use rules were reviewed
In the wake of the Rust incident, the decision to review gun rules on movie sets came into force. A committee consisting of union and studio representatives was composed in 2022, who reviewed safety bulletins that dictate how guns should be handled on the set. Among the major revisions, the presence of armorers when weapons are handed over to actors and crew became imperative.