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Grand jury indicts Alec Baldwin for fatal 2021 shooting following fresh gun analysis : NPR


Alec Baldwin has been indicted by a grand jury with an involuntary manslaughter charge in connection with a fatal shooting incident that occurred during a rehearsal on a movie set in New Mexico in 2021. This has revived a previously inactive case involving the well-known actor.

Andy Kropa/AP


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Andy Kropa/AP


Alec Baldwin has been indicted by a grand jury with an involuntary manslaughter charge in connection with a fatal shooting incident that occurred during a rehearsal on a movie set in New Mexico in 2021. This has revived a previously inactive case involving the well-known actor.

Andy Kropa/AP

It was in Santa Fe, N.M. that the grand jury indicted Alec Baldwin with an involuntary manslaughter charge related to a fatal shooting incident that took place during a rehearsal on a movie set in New Mexico in 2021. The case was brought to the grand jury by special prosecutors after months of receiving a new analysis of the firearm used.

During a rehearsal on a movie set outside Santa Fe in October 2021, Alec Baldwin, the lead actor and co-producer of the Western movie “Rust,” was pointing a gun at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins when the gun fired, causing her death and injuring director Joel Souza.

Baldwin has claimed that he pulled back the hammer but did not pull the trigger, and that the gun fired.

Following prosecutors’ commitment to present charges to a grand jury, judges agreed to temporarily halt numerous civil lawsuits seeking compensation from Baldwin and the producers of “Rust.” Plaintiffs in these lawsuits include members of the film crew.

The involuntary manslaughter charge against Baldwin was previously dismissed by special prosecutors in April, citing information that the gun may have been altered before the shooting and malfunctioned. However, they later reconsidered filing a charge against Baldwin after receiving a new analysis of the firearm.

The analysis by ballistics and forensic testing experts involved using replacement parts to reassemble the firearm fired by Baldwin, following breakage during FBI testing. The report examined the firearm and the markings it left on a spent cartridge, concluding that the trigger must have been pulled or depressed.

The analysis, led by Lucien Haag of Forensic Science Services in Arizona, stated that despite Baldwin’s repeated denial of pulling the trigger, “given the tests, findings, and observations reported here, the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver.”

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the weapons supervisor on the movie set, has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering in the case, with her trial set to commence in February.

“Rust” assistant director and safety coordinator David Halls entered a no contest plea to unsafe handling of a firearm in March and received a suspended sentence of six months’ probation. He agreed to cooperate in the investigation of the shooting incident.

An earlier FBI report on the agency’s analysis of the firearm revealed the potential for it to discharge without the trigger being pulled if force was applied to an uncocked hammer, such as by dropping the weapon.

Testers were only able to get the firearm to discharge by striking it with a mallet while the hammer was down and resting on the cartridge, or by pulling the trigger when it was fully cocked. Subsequently, the firearm broke during testing.

The 2021 shooting led to a series of civil lawsuits, including wrongful death claims filed by members of Hutchins’ family, which revolved around allegations of lax safety standards against the defendants. Baldwin and other defendants have contested these accusations.

Rust Movie Productions paid a $100,000 fine to state workplace safety regulators after a scathing account of violations of standard industry protocols, including testimony that production managers took limited or no action to address two misfires on set before the fatal shooting.

The production of “Rust” resumed in Montana last year, under an agreement with the cinematographer’s widower, Matthew Hutchins, which appointed him as an executive producer.



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