New Mexico prosecutors announced on Thursday evening that they will be dropping all charges against Alec Baldwin in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding of director Joel Souza on the set of Baldwin’s neo-western, “Rust.”
Baldwin, as well as the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, were originally charged with involuntary manslaughter in the tragic incident that cost Hutchins her life.
Prosecutors issued a statement in regard to the dismissal of charges: “Over the last few days and in preparation for May 3, 2023, preliminary hearing, new facts were revealed that demand further investigation and forensic analysis. Consequently, we cannot proceed under the current time constraints and on the facts and evidence turned over by law enforcement in its existing form. We, therefore will be dismissing the involuntary manslaughter charges against Mr. Baldwin to conduct further investigation.”
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed is still facing an involuntary manslaughter charge, but her attorneys are confident her charges will be dismissed as well.
The incident in question took place on October 21, 2021, when Baldwin pointed a gun at Hutchins, which went off, killing her and wounding Souza. Baldwin vehemently denied intentionally firing the gun.
However, as the investigation unfolded, lapses in judgment and safety protocols came to light. Mamie Mitchell, the script supervisor, filed a lawsuit against Baldwin and the production company for those safety errors; which she alleged were largely done as an effort to cut costs.
Baldwin issued statements and gave an exclusive interview to ABC, denying any awareness of a live round being in the gun. He also explained that he was pointing the gun at Hutchins because they were working on camera angles for a scene they were shooting.
On January 31, 2023, Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed were formally charged with involuntary manslaughter. The investigation essentially found Baldwin, lead actor and producer of the film, culpable for the many safety violations which led to the fatal incident.
Legal analysts have speculated that the new evidence will lead to a theory focusing the bulk of the blame on the film’s armorer.