What charges could the Alec Baldwin, ‘Rust’ crew members face over accidental shooting: legal experts weigh in


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No charges have yet been leveled in the death of cinematographer Halyana Hutchins

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Helena Hutchins’ death on the set of “Rust” may have been an accident, but it is possible that those involved in the incident could still face civil or legal implications.

After a search warrant executed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office was issued, detectives revealed that there were three key men who had handled the firearm which eventually went off and Hutchins died as a result.


Armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reid holds the prop gun outside a church set on a cart with other prop guns due to coronavirus restrictions. The next person to handle it was assistant director Dave Hall, who handed it to Baldwin, declaring that it was a “cold gun”, a term used to indicate to people on set that the firearm was not loaded and therefore It was safe to handle.

Both the armorer and the assistant director were reportedly tasked with checking the gun to make sure it was unloaded. However, somehow a live round was loaded into the gun which went off when Baldwin pulled the trigger while rehearsing a scene. Further, director Joel Souza, who was injured in the incident when the bullet hit his right shoulder, questioned why there was ammunition on the set that day as per the affidavit.

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With these three key figures most involved with gun handling, legal experts told Granthshala News that liability could fall on one, if not all, of them.

“From what we know, it seems unlikely that Alec Baldwin knowingly or recklessly fired the gun thinking he might have killed another person,” the white-collar criminal defense attorney said. Rachel Fisset In a statement to Granthshala News. “However, the facts that have emerged so far may suggest that there was a lack of adherence to safety protocol on set and that Ms Hutchins died ‘without due diligence and caution’ under the New Mexico Penal Code.”

As a result, she states that an allegation of involuntary manslaughter may be in the cards due to alleged criminally reckless behavior on set. While it is unclear at this time what exactly happened that day, a crew member who previously worked with Hall claimed to have filed a complaint against him for allegedly disobeying safety protocols. Meanwhile, Gutierrez Reid previously said on a podcast that he had doubted his skills as an armorer in the past before taking up a position at “Rust.”

Criminal defense attorney Chris Melcher said, “It was not an accident. It was so reckless that it escalated to a felony. Had any one of the safety rules been followed, Halina Hutchins would have been alive and Joel Souza would not have been injured.” ” who has handled casual shooting matters and represented filmmakers in the past.

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“Under New Mexico law an assistant director may face charges of involuntary manslaughter. Using an empty gun to make a film is legal, but New Mexico law requires the cast and crew to use ‘reasonable caution. is needed because there can be fatalities from wielding the gun the wrong way,” he added, echoing Fissett’s comments.

Melcher continued: “If the property owner had made sure there was no live gunpowder on the set, no shots would have been fired. If the weapon was checked, the bullet would have been discovered. These are simple rules to follow. does not delay production. Failure to comply with those rules creates criminal liability on the part of the Assistant Director and Armorer.”

Both legal experts noted that, although the circumstances indicated that Baldwin would avoid any criminal murder charges, his status as a producer on “Rust” would leave him open to a civil trial at some point in the future. can.

“There is no doubt in my mind that there would be some kind of civil liability for this heinous accident on set. Such a tragic accident is preventable and Ms. Hutchins’ family would have received monetary damages either through a lawsuit or an immediate settlement.” Likely from the production company,” Fissette said.

Alec Baldwin is the producer of the film 'Rust', which could put him in line for a civil suit.

Currently, both the authorities, as well as the production company, are working to investigate the incident on set and determine how it happened and whether it was anyone’s fault, criminal or otherwise.

In a statement released on Twitter a day after the incident, Baldwin said he was in full compliance with the authorities.

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