Alec Baldwin has been formally charged after the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set of the movie Rust in 2021.
According to new reports, the well-known actor was charged with involuntary manslaughter, with prosecutors claiming he was on a phone while undertaking firearms training.
The film’s armorer has also been charged with involuntary manslaughter after the death of Halyna Hutchins.
The horrifying incident took place on October 21, 2021 when a loaded prop gun held by Baldwin discharged. Joel Souza, 48, the film’s director was also injured.
Following the tragic incident, Baldwin expressed his condolences and went on to claim he wasn’t responsible for the fatal shot.
“Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property,” Baldwin said. “Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me.”
Last year, Hutchins’ widower filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
In the complaint Matthew said, Baldwin “recklessly shot and killed Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie Rust.”
The lawsuit sought punitive damages for funeral and burial expenses, as well as compensatory damages for “the loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, guidance, training, assistance and moral support.”
Baldwin and Hutchins’ family reached an undisclosed settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit. The actor, who has insisted he didn’t pull the trigger, said he was “pleased,” to settle.
“We are pleased to announce today the settlement of the civil case filed on behalf of the family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Throughout this difficult process, everyone has maintained the specific desire to do what is best for Halyna’s son,” the 64-year-old actor wrote on Instagram at the time.
“We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the resolution of this tragic and painful situation.”
Yet in documents released earlier this week officially detailing the charges, Baldwin is accused of being “distracted” while talking to family members on his mobile phone during training about how to operate the prop gun to be used on set.
Robert Shilling, a special investigator for the district attorney’s office, wrote in a statement of probable cause filed with the manslaughter charges, arguing that if Baldwin had performed mandatory safety checks with the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, and not pointed the gun at Hutchins, the “tragedy would not have occurred”.
“This reckless deviation from known standards and practice and protocol directly caused the fatal shooting,” he said.
“Baldwin knew the first rule of gun safety is never point a gun at someone you don’t intend on shooting.”
If found guilty, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed may face up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. They will be tried by a jury, according to prosecutors.
Lawyers for both of the accused have said they intend to fight the charges in court.
What do you think to Alec Baldwin being charged? My thoughts remain with the family of Halyna Hutchins – I can only imagine the torment they’ve been put through.
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