Over a year and three months after the tragic Rust shooting, Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed were formally charged in conjunction with the fatal accident that occurred on the set of the Western. A statement released by the Santa Fe, New Mexico district attorney’s office also revealed new claims about what happened, including that Baldwin — who inadvertently killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza – did not take firearm training seriously.
As per CNN, Baldwin, who produced and acted in the film, and Gutierrez Reed were charged with involuntary manslaughter counts. Both have been accused of failing to perform safety procedures that could have prevented the accidental shooting with a prop gun that appears to have housed live ammunition. In Baldwin’s case, prosecutors have accused him of not taking safety training seriously:
“A training session for at least an hour or more in length was scheduled, but the actual training consisted of only approximately 30 minutes as according to (armorer Hannah Gutierrez) Reed, Baldwin was distracted and talking on his cell phone to his family during the training.”
As for Gutierrez Reed, prosecutors say that she didn’t insist on Baldwin taking the training session, didn’t check each round as they were loaded into the firearms, and didn’t follow safety protocols when storing the ammunition:
“Gutierrez Reed was reckless in her responsibility to ensure set safety with the firearm. She failed to correct Baldwin from committing the dangerous and reckless safety violations by pointing the weapon at/towards people and by having his finger on the trigger.”
What’s more, photos and videos show Baldwin repeatedly holding the gun “with his finger inside of the trigger guard and on the trigger, while manipulating the hammer and while drawing, pointing, and holstering the revolver,” according to prosecutors.
Ever since the incident, Baldwin has maintained his innocence, even claiming he didn’t pull the trigger. He also sued some of the film’s crew members. On Jan. 19, when the prosecutors’ charges were announced, Baldwin’s attorney put out a statement calling it “a terrible miscarriage of justice.” An attorney for Guiterrez Reed said they expected a jury to find her innocent and that she “has committed no crime.”
Baldwin and Gutierrez weren’t the only ones charged with crimes. The film’s assistant director David Halls was also charged with negligent use of a deadly weapon, though he has pleaded no contest and entered into a plea agreement that is “pending approval,” as per the D.A.’s office.