Before the fatal shooting on the set of Rust that led to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, investigators say the film’s star Alec Baldwin failed to attend firearm training for the movie, adding the actor seemed “distracted” during a brief on-set training session.
Earlier this month it was revealed that the actor/producer, 64, would face criminal charges for his involvement in the death of Hutchins. Those two involuntary manslaughter charges, for both Baldwin and 25-year-old armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, were formally filed on Tuesday, with court documents highlighting the prosecution’s evidence.
In the district attorney’s office’s special investigator Robert Shilling’s probable cause filing, he writes that Baldwin “was not present for required firearms training prior to the commencement of filming.” The filing pointed out that Gutierrez-Reed said in her deposition that Baldwin had “limited training in firearms and how to check his own firearm as to whether it was unloaded or loaded.”
Gutierrez-Reed also said, per the documents, that Baldwin did attend a 30-minute training session but appeared “distracted and talking on his cell phone to his family during the training.”
Attorneys for Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed did not respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment Tuesday.
Hutchins, 42, was shot and killed Oct. 21, 2021, after a prop gun held by Baldwin that turned out to contain live rounds discharged while rehearsing a scene on the New Mexico set of the Western film. Director Joel Souza was also shot and injured, but no charges were made in his shooting.
“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,” the documents claimed. “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.”
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They added that Baldwin, in his capacity as producer, “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.”
Back in December 2021, Baldwin said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that he “didn’t pull the trigger” that day: “The trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger. I would never point a gun at someone and pull the trigger on them, never.”
An FBI forensic report released in August, however, found that the revolver at the center of this case, when “intact and functional,” “could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger” unless the hammer was “de-cocked on a loaded chamber” and “the hammer was struck directly.” Baldwin’s attorney said at the time that the report was being “misconstrued” and reiterated that “he was told by the person in charge of safety on the set that the gun was ‘cold,’ and believed the gun was safe.”
Additionally, an attorney for assistant director David Halls told Good Morning America in 2021 that Halls “told me since the very first day I met him that Alec did not pull that trigger.”
Halls signed a plea agreement for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon, and he denies handing the gun to Baldwin. The probable cause statement says that Halls was given the gun by Gutierrez-Reed 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” for rehearsals.
Earlier this month, when it was announced that the two would face criminal charges, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyers spoke out in separate statements.
Baldwin’s attorney Luke Nikas said the charges “distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice.” He added, “Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win.”
Attorneys for Gutierrez-Reed said, “Hannah is, and has always been, very emotional and sad about this tragic accident. But she did not commit involuntary manslaughter. These charges are the result of a very flawed investigation, and an inaccurate understanding of the full facts. We intend to bring the full truth to light and believe Hannah will be exonerated of wrongdoing by a jury.”