The announcement comes over a year after Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot on the set of the Western.
Alec Baldwin has been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
In a statement released by New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and Rust special prosecutor, Andrea Reeb, on Thursday, it was announced that charges were filed against Baldwin after the gun he was holding discharged, killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza on the Western film set in New Mexico.
Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was also charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed's will be "charged in the alternative" with the two counts of manslaughter, meaning that a jury would decide not simply if they were guilty, but under which definition of involuntary manslaughter they were guilty.
The first charge is referred to as involuntary manslaughter. For this charge to be proved there must be underlying negligence. This also includes a misdemeanor charge for negligent use of a firearm. 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 fine.
The other charge is involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act. This charge requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death. This is also a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in jail and up to a $5,000 fine. This charge includes a firearm enhancement, or added mandatory penalty, because a firearm was involved. The firearm enhancement makes the crime punishable by a mandatory five years in jail.
As for David Halls, the film's assistant director, he 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 specific to the non-fatal shooting of Souza.
"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," Carmack-Altwies said. "On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice."
Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor appointed by the District Attorney to the case, added, "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. 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."
Carmack-Altwies and Reeb will formally file charges with New Mexico’s First Judicial District Court before the end of the month.
The Hutchins family lawyer released a statement to ET after the announcement of the charges.
"We want to thank the Santa Fe Sheriff and the District Attorney for concluding their thorough investigation and determining that charges for involuntary manslaughter are warranted for the killing of Halyna Hutchins with conscious disregard for human life," Brian J. Panish, founding partner of Panish-Shea-Boyle -Ravipudi LLP, said. "Our independent investigation also supports charges are warranted. It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law. We support the charges, will fully cooperate with this prosecution, and fervently hope the justice system works to protect the public and hold accountable those who break the law."
Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel, reacted to the charges in a statement to ET. "This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins' tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice. Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set," reads the statement. "He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win."
Gutierrez-Reed's attorney, Jason Bowles, also released a statement to ET, which reads, "Hannah is, and has always been, very emotional and sad about this tragic accident. But she did not commit involuntary manslaughter. These charges are the result of a very flawed investigation, and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts. We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury."
A rep for Alec Baldwin's daughter, Ireland Baldwin, had no comment, and a rep of Alec Baldwin's wife, Hilaria Baldwin, also had no comment.
In another statement released ahead of Thursday's announcement, Heather Brewer, spokesperson for the office of the First Judicial District Attorney, said no matter the D.A.'s decision, it's still a "solemn occasion."
"Regardless of the District Attorney’s decision, the announcement will be a solemn occasion, made in a manner keeping with the office’s commitment to upholding the integrity of the judicial process and respecting the victim’s family," Brewer said.
The shooting occurred on Oct. 21, 2021, inside a church building on a film set outside Santa Fe. Baldwin was sitting on a wooden pew, rehearsing unholstering his prop gun and pointing it at the camera, when he fired it, according to a search warrant filed by Santa Fe County Sheriff's investigators.
Baldwin has repeatedly said it was an accident, insisting he did not pull the trigger. But an FBI forensic report found the weapon could not have fired unless the trigger was pulled, according to the Associated Press. New Mexico's Office of the Medical Investigator determined Hutchins' death to be accidental.
In the days after the shooting, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza confirmed the loaded firearm was "handled and/or inspected" by Gutierrez-Reed and Halls prior to it being fired by Baldwin.
In October, ET learned that Baldwin and Hutchins' family reached a settlement, and the actor announced filming would resume.
"The production of Rust will not return to New Mexico," Melina Spadone, Attorney for Rust Movie Productions LLC, said in a statement to ET. "The production is considering other locations, including California, but no decisions have been made."
Moving forward, Rust production will have a safety officer on set. The resumption, like the original production, will continue to be filmed under agreements with industry labor unions.
A month after settling his wrongful death lawsuit, Baldwin filed a lawsuit of his own against the armorer and several other crew members involved in the Rust production for negligence. The lawsuit alleged that armorer Gutierrez-Reed "failed to check the bullets or the gun carefully;" assistant director Halls "failed to check the gun carefully and yet announced the gun was safe before handing it to Baldwin;" and prop master Sarah Zachry "failed to disclose that Gutierrez-Reed had been acting recklessly off set and was a safety risk to those around her."
Furthermore, Baldwin, who was also one of the film's six producers, "did not know and had no reason to know any of these facts," the suit reads.
For more on the Rust tragedy, check out the links below.