Santa Fe County D.A. Says Criminal Charges Still Possible Despite Baldwin’s Claim He Likely Won’t Face Charges

Topline

Criminal charges are on the table in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during the filming of Rust, Santa Fe County District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said in a statement Friday, a day after Alec Baldwin, the film’s star and a producer of it, told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos it’s “highly unlikely” he will face criminal charges.

Key Facts

In her statement, Carmack-Altwies said those “involved in the handling and use of firearms” on the Rust set had a “duty” to make sure that others on the set were safe, seemingly alluding to the three people who allegedly handled the gun prior to the shooting: Baldwin, armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and the assistant director Dave Halls .

She said it “appears that certain actions and inactions” led to Hutchins being fatally shot with a suspected live round. 

Carmack-Altwies said once she is able to “review the complete investigation” she may find that “certain individuals may be criminally culpable.” 

Baldwin denied to Stephanopoulos he was responsible for Hutchins’ death, and said he did not personally check the gun because he believed actors shouldn’t be “the last line of defense” in gun safety.

Tangent

Lane Luper, a camera assistant who walked off the set prior to the shooting, issued a statement on Thursday night, according to Variety, challenging Baldwin’s claims that he “did not pull the trigger” and when he let go of the “hammer” the “gun went off.” He said, “Alec Baldwin, David Halls, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and the producers of ‘Rust’ are attempting to avoid personal responsibility through unfounded claims and scripted narrative.”

Key Background

On October 21, Hutchins was fatally shot and Rust director Joel Souza was wounded by a a gun Baldwin was holding. Gutierrez-Reed has denied that live rounds were on the film set, and her attorneys have suggested that someone may have introduced them as an act of “sabotage.” Carmack-Altwies has ruled that out. Two civil lawsuits have been filed against the producers of the film, including Baldwin, and Gutierrez-Reed, alleging there were unsafe practices on the set.

What To Watch Out For

Baldwin told Stephanopoulos the investigation could be completed by February or March. The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office has not publicly stated a timeline.

Further Reading

Alec Baldwin Says He Probably Won’t Be Charged In ‘Rust’ Shooting (Forbes)

Alec Baldwin Says He ‘Didn’t Pull The Trigger’ In ‘Rust’ Shooting (Forbes)

‘Rust’ Search Warrant Suggests Live Ammo On Set May Have Come From Weapons Supplier (Forbes)

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