Rust armourer convicted of involuntary manslaughter after fatal shooting on set

Rust armourer convicted of involuntary manslaughter after fatal shooting on set

A film set weapons armourer who loaded a gun for US actor Alec Baldwin which fired and killed a cinematographer has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was found guilty after a two-week trial in Santa Fe, New Mexico, following the fatal shooting of 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins on the set of western film Rust in October 2021.

Prosecutors alleged Gutierrez-Reed unknowingly brought live ammunition on to the set, at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe, and gun safety protocols that might have detected the live rounds had been disregarded.

Defence lawyers for Gutierrez-Reed described her as an easy scapegoat, adding that problems on the film set extended beyond her control, including alleging the mishandling of weapons by Baldwin.

The involuntary manslaughter charge against Gutierrez-Reed carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and a 5,000 dollar (£3,900) fine.

Baldwin is scheduled to stand trial in July on a charge of involuntary manslaughter after he was re-charged in January. The actor has pleaded not guilty.

The lead actor and co-producer of the film was pointing a gun at Ms Hutchins during a rehearsal when the weapon went off, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza.

The actor previously said he pulled back the hammer, but not the trigger, and the gun fired.

Baldwin Set Shooting
Santa Fe County Deputy Levi Abeyta, left, watches as firearms expert for the defence Frank Koucky III demonstrates how to uncock a gun like the one used on the set of the movie Rust (Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP, Pool)

He was initially charged in January 2023, but those charges were formally dismissed three months later.

Earlier in January 2024, special prosecutors brought the case before a grand jury in Santa Fe after receiving a new analysis of the gun, and Baldwin was re-charged.

The indictment accuses Baldwin of involuntary manslaughter through negligent use of a firearm, and an alternative charge of involuntary manslaughter “without due caution or circumspection”.

The filming of Rust resumed last year in Montana, under an agreement with the cinematographer’s widower Matthew Hutchins that made him an executive producer.