In October 2021, on the New Mexico set of a Western film, Baldwin held the firearm that went off and unfortunately injured writer-director Joel Souza and resulted in the loss of life of a 42-year-old Hutchins. Following this incident, the Santa Fe County District Attorney's Office charged the actor-producer of Rust, aged 65, with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
The charges were dropped notoriously in April without prejudice, yet Morrissey and Lewis, the prosecutors, declared in a court filling on June 9 that Baldwin is subject to possible charges dependent on whether the gun inquiry is active.
During that time, they mentioned that the gun and broken sear had been sent to the state's independent expert for further examination. The dismissal of charges against Alec Baldwin was not conclusive and took into account the possible influence of the gun's malfunction on causation, specifically connected to Baldwin, rather than Gutierrez. If it is determined that the gun did not malfunction, Mr. Baldwin will face charges, as outlined in their announcement.
Included in the prosecution's new report in the case against Gutierrez-Reed are photos of Baldwin in costume rehearsing prior to the incident, holding the weapon. The report confirms that the gun functioned properly and in accordance with the original Colt 1873 single-action revolvers when it was reassembled. Despite the damage caused by the incident, including the broken full-cock step on the hammer, the top of the trigger's sear, and the bolt (cylinder stop), there is no evidence of any modifications to the gun, according to the report.
In August 2022, an investigation conducted by the FBI yielded consistent results, concluding that Baldwin must have pulled the trigger. According to their findings, the gun could only be discharged by pulling the trigger, unless the hammer was de-cocked while the chamber was loaded and directly struck by the hammer. Baldwin's attorney argued that this report was misinterpreted.
In interviews, Baldwin has consistently asserted that the gun discharged without him actively pulling the trigger. He emphasized this point in December 2021, stating, "I would never aim a gun at someone and voluntarily pull the trigger."
In April, Baldwin's charges were dropped, as reported by ABC News. The Emmy winner's lawyers, Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro, expressed their satisfaction with the dismissal of the case in a statement shared with PEOPLE, and urged for a thorough investigation into the details surrounding the unfortunate accident.
Initially, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film's armorer, faced charges of involuntary manslaughter, but assistant director David Halls has already admitted guilt to a misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a dangerous weapon.
Prosecutors claim that the armorer on the set of 'Rust' was reportedly hungover, leading to the loading of live rounds in a gun. This alleged negligence, along with the failure of Baldwin, Gutierrez-Reed, and Halls to fulfill their responsibilities, is said to have resulted in the tragic death of Halyna Hutchins.
Last week, Gutierrez-Reed, 26, entered a plea of not guilty. In a statement to PEOPLE, the armorer's attorney, Jason Bowles, expressed her anticipation for the upcoming trial and the thorough examination of everyone's conduct on set. Gutierrez-Reed is scheduled to go to trial in December.
After reaching a separate settlement with Hutchins' widower Matthew, Rust resumed and completed production in Montana earlier this year with Baldwin and the film's producers.
In a statement last October, Matthew announced that he will now be the executive producer for the resumed filming of Rust in January 2023, with all the original principal players on board. He expressed his lack of interest in assigning blame or engaging in recriminations towards the producers or Mr. Baldwin regarding Halyna's unfortunate death. He expressed gratitude for the producers and the entertainment community's united effort in honoring Halyna's final work.
Baldwin expressed his gratitude for the Rust cast members Patrick Scott McDermott and Frances Fisher, acknowledging the challenges they faced and stating that the completion of the project was nothing short of a miracle.