Alec Baldwin Missed Firearms Safety Training and Was Talking on Phone Prior to Shooting on Rust Set That Killed Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, Court Docs Claim

The documents describing the accusations, which were initially revealed on January 19, paint a chaotic scene with a careless attitude toward gun safety.

Alec Baldwin was on the phone during the firearms training for the movie Rust where he fatally shot choreographer Halyna Hutchins, prosecutors said, as he was officially charged with involuntary manslaughter on Tuesday. Prosecutors also said that Baldwin looked "distracted" during a brief on-set training session.

According to the prosecutors, shortly after the incident, Baldwin admitted to officers that he had fired the weapon. However, he would later vehemently deny that. Authorities in Santa Fe, New Mexico, had announced their intent to file charges against Baldwin earlier this month and finally did so on Tuesday. Also, the film's armorer, Hannah Guiterrez-Reed was charged for the fatal October 2021 shooting of Hutchins.

Reckless and Still in Denial

Alec Baldiwn
Alec Baldiwn Twitter

The actor was charged by the District Attorney's Office in Santa Fe with "several instances of extremely reckless actions." Baldwin allegedly fired a prop gun on the "Rust" set in New Mexico, which led to Hutchins' death.

The documents describing the accusations, which were initially revealed on January 19, paint a chaotic scene with a careless attitude toward gun safety.

According to Mary Carmack-Altwies, the Santa Fe district attorney, the Oscar-nominated actor and producer of the movie was not present for the weapons training before the start of filming, and when an hour-long training session was scheduled, he appeared bored and was on his cell phone.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins
Halyna Hutchins Instagram @halynahutchins

In a statement of probable cause submitted with the manslaughter charges, Robert Shilling, a special investigator for the district attorney's office, stated that Baldwin was "distracted" while learning how to use the prop pistol because he was chatting to family members on his cellphone.

Her team discovered "reckless deviation from known standards and practice and protocol," noting that Hutchins was killed during an unscheduled rehearsal, at which the standard two safety checks were not performed, and for which a plastic gun should have been used.

Shilling asserted that the "tragedy would not have occurred" if Baldwin had conducted the required safety checks with armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and refrained from pointing the gun at Hutchins.

Hannah Gutierrez
Hannah Gutierrez Instagram

"This reckless deviation from known standards and practice and protocol directly caused the fatal shooting," he said.

"Baldwin knew the first rule of gun safety is never point a gun at someone you don't intend on shooting," Shilling added.

Baldwin to Fight Back

Baldwin has vowed to challenge the allegations. He has constantly insisted that he never fired the trigger and that it was a tragic accident, highlighting the fact that he trusted the gun experts who were recruited to be present on set.

Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin Twitter

He might spend up to five years in prison if found guilty. The film's armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed has also been charged.

A 10-page probable cause affidavit detailing Baldwin's actions as the lead actor and his role as the film's primary producer is one of the documents that was submitted on Tuesday.

According to the prosecution, Baldwin missed the first session of a firearms safety instruction. Baldwin was scheduled for a follow-up session that would last an hour, but they only got through 30 minutes.

The prosecutors claimed: "According to Reed, Baldwin was distracted and talking on his cell phone to his family during the training."

Baldwin allegedly provided "inconsistent accounts" about how the shooting occurred, initially telling investigators he "fired" the gun before adamantly denying doing so.

"Photos and videos clearly show Baldwin, multiple times, with his finger inside the trigger guard and on the trigger," the prosecution claims in its filing.

"Baldwin approached responding deputies on the day of the shooting, wanting to talk to them because he was the one who 'fired' the gun," the report continued.

Alec Baldwin centre
Alec Baldwin (center) seen after shootings Hutchins Twitter

Photos and videos from the shooting in Rust show Baldwin repeatedly practicing drawing and firing the gun with his finger on the trigger and within the trigger guard, according to the prosecution.

Besides, the FBI issued a report to the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office stating that agents discovered the gun could not be discharged without pushing the trigger.

Baldwin has sued Gutierrez-Reed and other others connected to the movie, claiming they were negligent in thoroughly inspecting the pistol.

Gutierrez-Reed claims she double-checked that the rounds were dummies before handing the fake gun to the movie's assistant director Dave Halls. Dave Halls then gave the prop gun to Baldwin and informed him that it was an unloaded gun.

The New Mexico Environment Department found "a degree of carelessness," following a preliminary investigation into the event and producers were penalized more than $136,000 for failing to follow safety procedures.

According to the prosecution, Halls has pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of careless use of a deadly weapon. He will serve a six-month probationary period.