The fatal shooting on the set of the film Rust in Santa Fe, Mexico, claimed the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured another. Hutchins, a wife and mother of one, was accidentally killed by actor Alec Baldwin. Baldwin issued a statement following the accident. “There are no words to express my shock and sadness over the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother, and highly regarded colleague of ours.
I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation into how this tragedy occurred, and I’ve contacted her husband to express my condolences to him and his family. My heart goes out to her husband, their son, and everyone who knew and loved Halyna.” According to the Los Angeles Times, a group of camera crew members walked off set prior to the fatal shot because safety protocols were not strictly followed.
“This set was unsafe simply because they didn’t have the wherewithal to follow safety rules that we have in this industry that we’ve been following for decades,” said camera operator Lane Luper, according to Sky News. The late Hutchins’ family filed a wrongful death suit against Baldwin and others for “reckless behavior and cost-cutting.”
According to the lawsuit, “Halyna Hutchins deserved to live, and the Defendants had the power to prevent her [passing] if they had only held sacred their duty to protect the safety of every individual on a set where firearms were present instead of cutting corners on safety procedures where human lives were at stake, rushing to stay on schedule, and ignoring numerous complaints of safety violations.”
It went on to say, “This lawsuit seeks justice for the losses of her survivors and holds those responsible for her tragic [death].” The actor’s lawyers requested that any lawsuits against him be dismissed, claiming that the tragedy was a “workplace accident.” However, a Santa Fe district attorney announced on Tuesday that Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed would be charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Halyna Hutchins.
“I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the ‘Rust’ film crew after a thorough review of the evidence and the laws of the state of New Mexico,” Mary Carmack-Altwies said. “No one is above the law under my watch, and everyone deserves justice.” Assistant director David Halls signed a plea agreement and will be on probation for six months.
Investigators discovered 500 rounds of ammunition, including blanks, dummies, and what appeared to be live rounds, in the months following the shooting. We are deeply saddened that a young life was lost in this manner.