Hollywood Movies

Rust trial: How events unfolded after fatal shooting on Alec Baldwin film set

July 11, 202410 Mins Read


  • By Helen Bushby
  • Entertainment reporter

Image caption, Alec Baldwin has pleaded not guilty in court to involuntary manslaughter

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died on the set of Western film Rust in New Mexico in 2021, after a gun held by Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin fired a live round while he was rehearsing a scene.

He has denied pulling the trigger and has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

The film’s armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was responsible for the weapons on the set, has been jailed after being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Here is a summary of the events leading up to Baldwin’s trial.

21 October 2021

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Hutchins was a “wonderful mother, first and foremost”, a former colleague told the BBC

Halyna Hutchins dies and director Joel Souza is injured after Alec Baldwin fires a prop gun on a film set for 19th Century western Rust in New Mexico.

Ukrainian-born Hutchins was shot while working as the film’s director of photography. The 42-year-old was flown to hospital by helicopter, but died of her injuries. Souza was taken by ambulance from the scene at Bonanza Creek Ranch.

Baldwin was a co-producer of Rust and was playing the film’s lead and namesake – an outlaw whose 13-year-old grandson is convicted of manslaughter. The actor is best-known as Jack Donaghy on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, and for his portrayal of Donald Trump on sketch show Saturday Night Live.

He said: “My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.” He said he was “fully co-operating with the police investigation”.

23 October 2021

Hutchins was fatally shot in the chest. Souza, who had been standing behind her, was treated in hospital for a wound to the shoulder, and later discharged.

Court submissions say assistant director David Halls did not know the gun contained live ammunition, and indicated it was unloaded by shouting “cold gun!”

24 October 2021

Image source, Getty Images

25 October 2021

Legal documents reveal Alec Baldwin was drawing a revolver across his body and pointing it at a camera during the on-set rehearsal when the gun fired.

26 October 2021

A statement from the producers of that film told news agency AFP that Halls was dismissed after a crew member “incurred a minor and temporary injury when a gun was unexpectedly discharged”.

28 October 2021

Image source, Getty Images

Investigators say a “lead projectile” was removed from director Souza’s shoulder, and that it appeared to be part of a live round.

Sante Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza says police recovered 600 pieces of evidence – including three firearms and 500 rounds of ammunition.

31 October 2021

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Alec Baldwin described the team on the set of Rust as a “well-oiled crew”

“The day I arrived in Santa Fe and started shooting I took her [Hutchins] to dinner with Joel,” he says. “We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together, and then this horrible event happened.”

He says police had ordered him not to discuss the ongoing investigation, but described the incident as a “one-in-a-trillion episode”.

17 November 2021

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Mamie Mitchell (left) and her lawyer, Gloria Allred, spoke to the media

Script supervisor Mamie Mitchell – who called police after the shooting – filed the case.

Her lawyer, Gloria Allred, accuses the actor of “playing Russian roulette” when he fired the gun without checking it first.

1 December 2021

An affidavit – a written statement of evidence – says police were told ammunition for the film had come from several sources, including PDQ Arm & Prop.

The affidavit says the ammunition supplier’s owner, Seth Kenney, had told investigators the live round may have been from some “reloaded ammunition”.

He said the ammunition he supplied for the film consisted of dummy rounds and blanks, according to the affidavit.

3 December 2021

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Lead actor Baldwin described the shooting as a “one-in-a-trillion event”

He also says he “didn’t pull the trigger” of the gun during the incident, and adds: “Someone put a live bullet in a gun. I know it’s not me.”

Baldwin says that, while he didn’t feel guilty, the incident had left him emotionally scarred.

According to court records, Halls was given the gun by Gutierrez-Reed. Her lawyers have said she did not know where “the live rounds came from”.

9 January 2022

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Investigators, led by District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, believe Baldwin’s phone may contain evidence relevant to their investigation

Despite obtaining a search warrant more than three weeks earlier, officials say they have been unable to obtain Baldwin’s phone.

“They can’t just go through your phone and take your photos, or your love letters to your wife, or what have you,” Mr Baldwin said. “That is a process that takes time. But of course we are going to comply 1,000% with all that.”

13 January 2022

She filed her legal claim in New Mexico state court, and was seeking unspecified damages from Seth Kenney and PDQ Arm and Prop LLC.

Her claim states: “The ammunition was misrepresented as only dummy ammunition when it contained both dummy and live ammunition.”

But in December, Kenney had told Good Morning America: “It’s not possible that they [the live rounds] came from PDQ or myself personally.”

Court documents state Gutierrez-Reed said police discovered seven bullets suspected of being live ammunition after the shooting, according to AFP news agency.

The documents said the bullets were distributed among a box of cartridges with other ammunition and cartridge belts, intended for the actors to use as accessories.

15 January 2022

15 February 2022

Image source, Getty Images

Hutchins’ family bring a lawsuit against Baldwin, assistant director Halls, armourer Gutierrez-Reed and prop master Sarah Zachry.

It alleges Baldwin “recklessly shot and killed” Hutchins on the set of Rust.

Lawyers for the Hutchins family say she would still be alive if crew members had not cut corners.

24 February 2022

Matthew Hutchins tells NBC’s Today: “I was angry to see him talk about her death so publicly in such a detailed way, and then to not accept responsibility after having just described killing her.”

20 April 2022

Image caption, A photo of Halyna Hutchins at a vigil following her death in October

The makers of the film showed “plain indifference to recognised hazards associated with use of firearms on set”, according to the New Mexico Environment Department.

The agency issues the maximum $136,793 (£105,000) fine to Rust Movie Productions.

26 April 2022

Image source, Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office

Image caption, In new footage, Baldwin is seen rehearsing with a gun on set moments before Halyna Hutchins’ fatal injury

Santa Fe Sheriff Adan Mendoza also releases crime scene photos and witness interviews with people including Baldwin.

11 May 2022

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Alec Baldwin said he said he did not pull the trigger but the revolver fired after he cocked it

Rust Movie Productions says it “enforced all applicable safety protocols”.

In legal documents filed to contest the official findings, the firm also says it “did not ‘wilfully’ violate any safety protocol”.

5 October 2022

All parties believe Hutchins’ death was an accident, her husband Matthew says in a statement.

19 January 2023

Lawyers for both say they intend to fight the charges in court.

Assistant director David Halls entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanour charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon, prosecutors say. He will spend six months serving probation.

31 January 2023

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Baldwin is photographed in New York in January

Santa Fe’s District Attorney’s Office accuses the actor of “many instances of extremely reckless acts”.

If Baldwin had performed mandatory safety checks with Gutierrez-Reed and not pointed the gun at Hutchins, the “tragedy would not have occurred”, wrote Robert Shilling. He is a special investigator for the district attorney, and wrote this in a statement of probable cause filed with the manslaughter charges.

9 February 2023

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Gloria Allred is representing Hutchins’ family

Their lawyer, Gloria Allred, says they were “devastated by the shocking killing” and “feel strongly that anyone who is responsible for her loss must be held accountable”.

The case alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence, and is brought in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Hutchins’ mother, father and sister, who are living in Ukraine.

15 February 2023

Image source, Getty Images

Filming on Rust is to resume this spring, according to US reports, with Baldwin remaining in the the starring role. It is shifting location to Montana.

A mix of new and old crew members will work on the film, with Bianca Cline taking over as cinematographer.

Meanwhile, Hutchins’ widower Matthew has approved a documentary about his late wife, producers say.

Rust Movie Productions, which Baldwin is part of, says the scene being rehearsed when Hutchins was shot has been rewritten, and that “any use of working weapons and any form of ammunition” has been barred from the set.

20 February 2023

He still faces up to 18 months in prison under involuntary manslaughter charges.

Heather Brewer, Santa Fe county district attorney spokesperson, says the prosecution dropped the firearm enhancement charge to “avoid further litigious distractions by Mr Baldwin and his attorneys”.

23 February 2023

Gutierrez-Reed is also accused of involuntary manslaughter; prosecutors say she failed to ensure that dummy bullets were loaded into the gun that killed Hutchins.

20 April 2023

Image caption, Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (right)

“This decision does not absolve Mr Baldwin of criminal culpability and charges may be refiled,” the statement continues, adding: “Our follow-up investigation will remain active and ongoing.”

21 April 2023

A lawyer for Ms Hutchins’ parents and sister say the actor “cannot escape responsibility” for her death.

1 June 2023

Lawyers representing Hutchins’ husband Matthew and their son Andros sued Baldwin and the film’s other producers for wrongful death in 2022. An undisclosed settlement was agreed later the same year.

Image caption, The fatal incident happened in Bonanaza Creek Ranch, New Mexico

14 June 2023

They accuse the weapons supervisor of drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana in the evenings during filming.

In response, her lawyer says prosecutors had mishandled the case and resorted to “character assassination”.

9 August 2023

Gutierrez-Reed pleads not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering charges. Prosecutors say Ms Gutierrez-Reed acted recklessly when loading the gun.

15 August 2023

But weapons experts say the trigger would have “had to be pulled”.

19 January 2024

Local prosecutors share “additional facts” from forensic tests on the weapon used in the shooting.

1 February 2024

He has maintained he did not pull the trigger of the Colt .45 pistol and only drew back its hammer.

20 February 2024

6 March 2024

In closing arguments, prosecutors told jurors she had failed to ensure the weapon was only loaded with dummy rounds – fake bullets used to look and sound like real ones.

Gutierrez-Reed did not testify, but her lawyer said prosecutors had failed to prove his client was the sole person responsible for the fatal shooting.

15 April 2024

Before being sentenced, she tearfully addressed the court, saying her heart ached for the Hutchins family and friends. “The jury found me guilty; that does not make me a monster. That makes me human,” she said.

But the judge told her: “You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon. But for you, Ms Hutchins would be alive.”

9 July 2024

Jury selection begins for Baldwin’s trial. The actor faces involuntary manslaughter charges, which he denies.

He maintains he did not pull the trigger, and says the gun went off when he cocked the replica revolver’s hammer. His defence team argues that it was the responsibility of other crew members to ensure the gun was safe.

But prosecutors call this claim “absurd”, alleging the actor did not share this information when first interviewed after the shooting and arguing he had a responsibility to follow basic gun safety.



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