Prosecutors will announce their decision in the RUST film production starring Alec Baldwin

SANTA FE, New Mexico — The Santa Fe district attorney's office will announce on Thursday whether or not charges will be filed in the fatal 2021 film-set shooting of a cinematographer by actor Alec Baldwin during a rehearsal of the Western "Rust."

Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said the announcement will be made in a statement and on social media, with no prosecutors appearing in public.



“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,” said Heather Brewer, a district attorney's office spokeswoman.

On October 21, 2021, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed by a gunshot wound while setting up for a scene at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe. Baldwin was pointing a gun at Hutchins when it went off, killing her and injuring the director, Joel Souza.

The initial investigation into Hutchins' death was led by Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza, who described "a degree of neglect" on the film set. However, after delivering the results of a yearlong investigation in October, he left decisions about potential criminal charges to prosecutors. The report did not say how live ammunition ended up on the set.


Carmack-Altwies, who took over the investigation, was granted an emergency $300,000 request from the state to pay for a special prosecutor, special investigator, and other experts and personnel.

Baldwin, best known for his roles in "30 Rock" and "The Hunt for Red October," as well as his "Saturday Night Live" impression of former President Donald Trump, has called the killing a "tragic accident."


He attempted to clear his name by suing those involved in handling and supplying the loaded gun given to him on set. Baldwin, who also worked on "Rust," said he was told the gun was secure.

Baldwin claimed in his lawsuit that while working on camera angles with Hutchins during a scene rehearsal, he pointed the gun at her and pulled back, releasing the weapon's hammer, which discharged.

Following the completion of an autopsy and a review of law enforcement reports, the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator determined the shooting was an accident.



Rust Movie Productions was fined the maximum amount by New Mexico's Occupational Health and Safety Bureau, based on a scathing narrative of safety failures, including testimony that production managers took little or no action to address two misfires of blank ammunition on the set prior to the fatal shooting.

Rust Movie Productions is still contesting the basis of a $137,000 fine imposed by regulators because production managers on the set failed to follow standard industry protocols for firearms safety.

Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armorer who oversaw firearms on the set, and an independent ammunition supplier have been the focus of much of the investigation. Gutierrez Reed's attorney claims she did not put a live round in the gun that killed Hutchins and believes she was the victim of sabotage. Authorities stated that they had found no evidence of this.



Investigators discovered 500 rounds of ammunition — a mix of blanks, dummy rounds, and what appeared to be live rounds — at the movie set on the outskirts of Santa Fe. According to industry experts, live rounds should never be used on set.

The Santa Fe Sheriff's Department released a trove of files in April 2022, including lapel camera video of Hutchins slipping in and out of consciousness as a medical helicopter arrived. Witness interrogations, email threads, text conversations, ammunition inventories, and hundreds of photographs rounded out the evidence.

State workplace safety regulators stated that when "Rust" ceased filming, immediate gun-safety concerns were addressed, and that a return to filming in New Mexico would be accompanied by new safety inspections.


Hutchins' family — widower Matthew Hutchins and son Andros — settled a lawsuit against producers in a deal that aims to restart filming with Matthew Hutchins as executive producer.

"Rust" has been plagued by disputes since its inception in early October 2021. Seven crew members walked off the set just hours before the fatal shooting because they were unhappy with their working conditions.

Hutchins' death has influenced negotiations over safety provisions in film crew union contracts with Hollywood producers, as well as prompted other filmmakers to use computer-generated imagery of gunfire instead of real weapons with blank ammunition to reduce risks.


Share this Article