Alec Baldwin missed firearm training before filming 'Rust' and was "distracted" during a catch-up session, prosecutors have claimed.
The 64-year-old actor-and-producer has been formally charged with involuntary manslaughter following the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during filming of the western in October 2021. Court documents claim he failed to attend a session on handling guns before filming started, and wasn't giving a brief on-set instruction session his full attention.
According to the district attorney's office's special investigator Robert Shilling's probable cause filing — which was obtained by People magazine — he wrote Baldwin "was not present for required firearms training prior to the commencement of filming."
The documents went on to point out that armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who has also been charged with involuntary manslaughter but denies any wrongdoing, stated in her deposition that the actor had "limited training in firearms and how to check his own firearm as to whether it was unloaded or loaded," and while he did attend a 30-minute training session on set, he appeared "distracted and [was] talking on his cell phone to his family during the training."
Halyna was killed and director Joel Souza injured when a prop gun held by the Baldwin discharged a live round during rehearsal. The filing documents criticized Baldwin for not behaving like he "assume[d] the gun was loaded".
They stated: "Baldwin directly pointed a firearm at Hutchins and Souza. Whether guided by [Gutierrez-Reed's] directions or not, Baldwin knew the first rule of gun safety is never point a gun at someone you don't intend on shooting.
"In addition, always assume a gun is loaded. Had Baldwin performed the required safety checks with the armorer, Reed, this tragedy would not have occurred.
"In addition, if Baldwin had not pointed the gun at Hutchins and Souza, this tragedy would not have occurred."
They also noted Baldwin, as one of the producers of the film, "allowed, though acts or omissions, the hiring of inexperienced and unqualified Reed" for the "firearm-intense film" and "failed to demand the minimum safety standards, protocols, and requirements on set."
Assistant Director Dave Halls has agreed a plea deal for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon and has denied handing the firearm to the film's lead actor.
The probably cause statement noted he was given the gun by Hannah and "provided Baldwin with the firearm so he could rehearse/practice with the weapon" — even though a "rubber or replica firearm should have been used" during rehearsals.
Baldwin has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said Dave told him it was a "cold" gun — meaning it was unloaded and safe — when he handed him the weapon.
Hannah was not present when the incident occurred, but the actor previously suggested she bear some responsibility as it was her job to prepare and check the props.
Though the '30 Rock' star previously insisted he did not pull the trigger when Halyna was shot, the FBI later tested the weapon and issued a report which concluded it would not have fired if someone hadn't pulled the trigger.
Halyna's death was previously ruled an accident but her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Alec and others involved in the production.
The lawsuit was settled last October, and it was agreed filming would resume on 'Rust', with the cinematographer's widower, Matthew Hutchins, on board as an executive producer.
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