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Could Rust’s Alec Baldwin Be Charged For The Death Of Halyna Hutchins? Here's The Latest

Alec Baldwin in Motherless Brooklyn
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Details are still coming out regarding the fatal shooting on the set of the movie Rust, that saw actor Alec Baldwin fire a prop gun that somehow contained a “live round.” While there’s a lot that is still to be determined one of the biggest questions right now is whether anybody on the set, including Baldwin could see criminal charges in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. At this point the Santa Fe, New Mexico District Attorney is leaving that possibility open. 

There’s a great deal that’s still unknown and being investigated regarding exactly what happened on the set of the movie Rust last week. However, one thing that is clear is that Alec Baldwin fired the shot that killed the movie's cinematographer and injured its director. Baldwin is also the film’s producer. Whether his actions on set, or his role as producer, could ultimately mean he is criminally responsible is something the DA is not confirming, but also not eliminating as a possibility. Speaking at a press conference (via USA Today) Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies would not rule out charges against Baldwin, saying…

All options are on the table at this point. We cannot answer that question yet.

With the investigation still ongoing, it seems the district attorney simply isn’t ready to make a commitment one way or the other on questions like this. The DA says quite clearly that she can’t answer the question of whether charges might end up being filed. She’s not saying that she is unwilling to answer, but rather she’s unable. There just isn’t enough that’s clear quite yet. New information could move the investigation in either direction.

Prior to the tragic accident the weapon was reportedly handed to Baldwin by the movie’s assistant director, David Halls, and it was also handled by armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. It was clearly believed to be safe by the crew, but there was a breakdown somewhere in the process. 

It’s being reported that a spent shell casing was removed from the shoulder of Rust director Joel Souza, which would explain exactly what the projectile was that was fired from the gun, but it still doesn’t explain how the shell casing ended up being fired from the gun. 

What happened on the set of Rust, a western which also co-stars Jensen Ackles, was obviously a tragic mistake, but the investigation is trying to figure out exactly where the mistake, or mistakes, were made. Even once that is determined, whether those mistakes rise to the level of criminal charges is another consideration the district attorney will need to make. The father of Halyna Hutchins, for what it’s worth, has said he does not hold Alec Baldwin responsible

All we can hope for now is that this tragedy, that has happened before, never happens again. At least one TV set has already banned live firearms. Whether systemic changes will take place to make sure this does not happen again, like so much in this case, is not yet clear. 

Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.