CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Should Alec Baldwin be recharged in fatal shooting on ‘Rust’ set?

Oct 18, 2023, 7:00 PM | Updated: Oct 25, 2023, 12:46 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Prosecutors will likely recharge Alec Baldwin for his role in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

While filming the movie “Rust,” Baldwin discharged a shot in the direction of Hutchins. He, allegedly, was told it was a “cold gun” that didn’t have any live rounds. However, the gun did fire a live round striking Hutchins and director Joel Souza. The shot was fatal for Hutchins and injured Souza. The case prompted several lawsuits.

Ultimately, an investigation found that the gun could accidentally discharge without pulling the trigger. This meant anyone could have been holding the gun when it went off, making Baldwin not responsible. Charges against him were eventually dismissed.

So, if the charges were dismissed, why is there the potential for Baldwin to be recharged?

According to KSL Legal Analyst Greg Skordas, new evidence shows that the actor could be responsible for the reckless death of Hutchins.

“They’ve now tested the weapon, and have found that it does require a trigger pull,” Skordas said. “So what they’re saying is, ‘well, you know, Alec, you don’t just draw a gun, and pull a trigger towards someone, even if you believe it’s not loaded, that could potentially be what’s called reckless conduct.'”

Skordas said Baldwin could potentially be charged with manslaughter.

Is it fair to recharge Baldwin?

KSL NewsRadio’s Dave Noriega doesn’t think so. He said it’s not uncommon for actors to point a gun at someone and pull the trigger while filming a movie.

“If you’ve ever seen any war movie, that happens all the time,” Noriega said. “If there were a real round in there … it would be absolutely fatal or dangerous, at the very least. This is very common in the movie business. I don’t know why he’s being held responsible.”

Accidents happen, according to Noriega, and not everyone needs to be held criminally responsible.

“Sometimes there is no negligence. It’s an honest mistake,” he said. “The stars lined up poorly … bad things happen. And there was no intent.”

He uses an example of driving with black ice on the road.

“If you’re driving on the road, and you have given the car in front of you … several seconds lead time … if they slam on their brakes … and you hit some black ice that you didn’t see coming, and you smash into that car, you will be held responsible for following too closely,” Noriega said. “Sometimes it’s just, it was an unfortunate series of events that happens. It’s tragic. The result could be catastrophic and terrible. That does not mean that person should be held criminally liable.”

Noriega said it’s not fair to expect an actor to be a weapons expert.

“They had somebody on … that was responsible for handling the weapons,” he said. “I just don’t know how him (Baldwin) being held responsible is the right move.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

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Should Alec Baldwin be recharged in fatal shooting on ‘Rust’ set?