Actor Alec Baldwin charged again over fatal film-set shooting

Grand jury indicted Baldwin for involuntary manslaughter over 2021 shooting on set of, Rust, that killed Halyna Hutchins.

Alec Baldwin
US prosecutors previously dropped charges against Alec Baldwin in relation to the shooting [File: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP]

A grand jury has indicted American actor Alec Baldwin on an involuntary manslaughter charge after a 2021 shooting during a rehearsal on a movie set killed the cinematographer.

Special prosecutors brought the case before a grand jury in Santa Fe, New Mexico this week, months after receiving a new analysis of the gun that was used.

While the proceeding was shrouded in secrecy, two of the witnesses seen at the court included crew members, one of whom was present when the shot was fired, and the other had just walked off the set the day before due to safety concerns.

In April last year, special prosecutors dismissed an involuntary manslaughter charge against Baldwin, saying they were informed that the gun might have been modified before the shooting and malfunctioned.

But the prosecutors later began weighing whether to refile a charge against the actor after receiving new analysis of the gun.

Baldwin, the lead actor and co-producer of the movie, Rust, said he pulled back the hammer, not the trigger, and the gun fired.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed once the gun went off, and director Joel Souza was injured.

Judges recently agreed to put on hold several civil lawsuits seeking compensation from Baldwin and the film producers after prosecutors said they would present charges to a grand jury.

The new analysis used to indict Baldwin relied on findings from experts in ballistics and forensic testing using replacement parts to reassemble the gun fired by Baldwin after parts of the pistol were broken during FBI testing.

But the report findings, led by Lucien Haag of Forensic Science Services in Arizona, stated that although Baldwin denied 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.”

The findings were similar to a previous FBI test on the firearm.

The weapons supervisor on the movie set, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering.

Her trial is set to begin in February.

The filming of, Rust, resumed last year in Montana under an agreement with the cinematographer’s widower, Matthew Hutchins, that made him an executive producer.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies