Alec Baldwin shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust” in October 2021. He claimed that he never pulled the trigger and the gun went off on its own. The first of three excuses made by him and others in the aftermath of the shooting.
The Santa Fe County district attorney plans to file involuntary manslaughter charges. How will the three excuses stack up in a court of law?
Excuse #1 – I Didn’t Pull the Trigger
The first excuse was, “I didn’t pull the trigger.” That excuse came from Actor/Producer Alec Baldwin in media interviews after the shooting.
He claimed that he pulled back the hammer but didn’t pull the trigger on the Colt .45 revolver. According to the FBI experts who examined the gun, the gun won’t fire without pulling the trigger. That statement gives him the appearance that he’s hiding something from investigators.
If he had admitted to pulling the trigger, he could have avoided involuntary manslaughter charges. I doubt the jury will find him innocent of the charges. They will have to decide if he gets 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine, and/or a mandatory five years in prison.
Excuse #2 – It’s Not My Job to Check the Weapon
The second excuse was, “It’s not my job to check the weapon.” That excuse came from First Assistant Director David Halls, according to his attorney.
Halls took the weapon off the prop cart, called out “cold gun” on the set, and gave it to Baldwin. A “cold gun” is a weapon that had dummy rounds or no rounds loaded. f he had done a visual check of the gun, he could have found the live round and prevented a tragedy.
- A dummy round has a dimpled primer on the bottom and two BBs inside to make a sound when shaken.
- A live round doesn’t have a dimpled primer and doesn’t make a sound when shaken.
According to Deadline, Halls got fired from a 2019 movie after a prop gun went off and injured a crew member. That may explain why he accepted a plea deal for negligent use of a deadly weapon. He reportedly received six months of probation.
Excuse #3 – The Ammo Supplier Mixed Up the Rounds
The third excuse was, “The ammo supplier mixed up the rounds.” That excuse came from Armorer Hannah Reed in a lawsuit against the ammo supplier.
According to Reed, she shook all six rounds to make sure that they were dummy rounds. She then handed the gun to Halls who told her that it wouldn’t be used during the rehearsals. Someone forgot to tell Baldwin not to play with his gun.
The sheriff department still haven’t determined how six live rounds made it on to the set. One round was in the gun, one round on Baldwin’s gun belt, and four rounds on the prop cart. Earlier reports mentioned practice shooting with live rounds elsewhere on the property.
Reed had a legal responsibility as the armorer to ensure the safe usage of the prop guns and the ammo on set. Her lawsuit against the ammo supplier won’t change her legal liability. The jury should convict her for involuntary manslaughter.
Involuntary manslaughter charges will be filed by the district attorney’s office at the end of the month.