Why Is Alec Baldwin Being Charged With Manslaughter?

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Last October, an accident on the set of an upcoming movie led to the tragic fatal shooting of a film crew member and the injury of the director. After investigations from New Mexico police and the FBI, actor Alec Baldwin was charged last week with manslaughter. Read on below to learn more about what happened and why Baldwin was charged.

What happened?

Rust is an upcoming western film starring actor Alec Baldwin, but due to negligence by several people involved with the filming process, a horrible accident took place in October. The cast and crew were rehearsing for a scene of the film where Baldwin pulls his gun from his holster and points it at the camera, and while explaining his plans for the scene, Baldwin accidentally discharged the firearm, which was pointed directly at the camera crew.

There were three people standing behind the camera, just two feet from the muzzle of Baldwin’s firearm. When the gun discharged, it struck director Joel Souza in the shoulder and camera operator Halyna Hutchins directly in the chest. Hutchins was life-flighted to a hospital in Albuquerque, where she was tragically pronounced dead.

What is Baldwin being charged with exactly?

For his negligence leading to this tragedy, Baldwin was charged involuntary manslaughter on two counts, alleging that he was negligent with his usage of the deadly weapon. This decision from a New Mexico district attorney was made public last week.

Who all is responsible for this?

Though Alec Baldwin is the most recognizable name of those involved in the shooting incident and he’s the one who actually pulled the trigger, there were several others involved in the negligence that led to this tragedy. According to Andrea Reeb, a prosecutor assigned to the case, “If any one of these three people—Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed or David Halls—had done their job, Halyna Hutchins would be alive today. It’s that simple.”

Like Baldwin, Rust’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed has been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. The film’s assistant director David Halls pled guilty to his charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon on two counts and has been given six months of probation. If he doesn’t break the law during his probation, Halls may be able to avoid further sentencing.

Basic firearm safety

Firearms are used as movie props all the time, but things went wrong this time due to negligence from multiple people who handled the weapon. The first rule everyone should learn when it comes to firearm safety is to never point the gun at another person, regardless of whether the gun is loaded or not. Stationary cameras can be used on film sets to avoid pointing weapons directly at camera operators.

Additionally, it’s important to always know whether a gun is loaded or not before handling it and to make someone aware of that before you hand them the weapon. The crew on Rust was using both live rounds and blanks for different scenes of the movie, so it was especially crucial for all who handled the weapon to ensure it was carrying a blank and not a live round.

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