Charges against Alec Baldwin dismissed in fatal ‘Rust’ shooting

By: - April 21, 2023 4:55 pm

A motion was filed Friday in the First Judicial District Court dismissing the felony charge filed against Baldwin in October last year following the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.  (Photo by Sam Wasson / Getty Images)

Santa Fe prosecutors have dismissed the involuntary manslaughter charge filed against actor Alec Baldwin related to the 2021 fatal shooting on the set of the film “Rust.”

A motion was filed Friday in the First Judicial District Court dismissing the felony charge filed against Baldwin in October last year following the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. 

Prosecutors dismissed the case “without prejudice,” meaning charges can be refiled.

“As new facts were revealed that demand further investigation and forensic analysis which cannot be completed before the May 3, 2023, preliminary hearing. The case is dismissed without prejudice and the investigation is active and on-going,” the motion stated.

The dismissal is the latest in a string of setbacks for District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.

In February, prosecutors downgraded the charges against Baldwin by removing a firearm enhancement, a portion of criminal code that extends prison sentences in cases where a firearm was used during a crime.

A month later, Carmack-Altwies stepped away from the high-profile case and appointed Andrea Reeb as a special prosecutor. Reeb soon stepped down because of conflict of interest concerns over Reeb also serving as an elected official in the New Mexico House of Representatives.

The shooting happened Oct. 21, 2021, on a movie set near Santa Fe as Baldwin was practicing a “cross-draw” with a revolver. The gun discharged, firing a single bullet that killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza.

Baldwin stated he’d been told the revolver was “cold,” meaning it did not have live ammunition in the cylinder. He has also stated that he did not pull the trigger and that the gun discharged when he pulled back the hammer.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film’s armorer who was in charge of loading the revolver the day of the shooting, still faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter related to the on-set shooting.

A series of hearings in Gutierrez-Reed’s case were scheduled to begin May 3, but during a hearing on Friday, those proceedings were rescheduled to begin Aug. 9 at the request of attorneys for both sides.

Filming of the Western resumed this week on a set in Montana. The production was moved from New Mexico following the deadly shooting and subsequent investigations.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site.

Ryan Lowery
Ryan Lowery

Ryan Lowery is an award-winning independent journalist based in Albuquerque. He covers politics and criminal justice and has reported on New Mexico for the Las Vegas Optic, Santa Fe Reporter, Los Angeles Times and others. Lowery was awarded the 2020 William S. Dixon First Amendment Freedom Award from the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, and the 2021 Sunshine Award from the New Mexico Press Association for his reporting that highlighted lack of transparency from multiple government agencies.

MORE FROM AUTHOR