Alec Baldwin to be charged with involuntary manslaughter over fatal Rust shooting

Alec Baldwin to be charged with involuntary manslaughter over fatal Rust shooting

Alec Baldwin is to be charged with involuntary manslaughter following a fatal shooting on the set of Rust.

In October 2021, production on the western was suspended after the Hollywood actor's prop firearm discharged during a rehearsal, injuring director Joel Souza and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Following an investigation into the tragedy, officials at the Santa Fe Sheriff's Office announced on Thursday that Baldwin and armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will each be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. The criminal charges will be filed by the end of the month.

"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," said New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies in a statement. "On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice."

Under New Mexico law, involuntary manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony and is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 (£4,000) fine.

Baldwin has not yet commented on the news.

In addition, assistant director David Halls has signed a plea agreement for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. The terms include a suspended sentence and six months of probation.

No charges will be filed in relation to injuries suffered by Souza.

"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," added Andrea Reeb, a special prosecutor on the case. "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."

Baldwin has long argued that he never pulled the trigger on the prop gun, despite an FBI forensic report finding that the weapon could not have fired on its own.

Last October, the 64-year-old and producers reached a settlement with Hutchins's family, with it agreed that the film could resume production in early 2023.