On Friday, New Mexico prosecutors formally dropped involuntary manslaughter charges against actor Alec Baldwin in connection with the 2021 shooting on the set of “Rust” which killed a cinematographer.
Fox News reported that the case was closed in the First Judicial District Court of New Mexico a day after special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis said they needed additional time to investigate new information presented to them. The prosecutors said the probe, which would include forensic analysis, could not be completed by Baldwin’s May 3 preliminary hearing.
According to USA Today, the charges against Baldwin were dismissed without prejudice — meaning they could be refiled at a later time.
“We cannot proceed under the current time constraints and on the facts and evidence turned over by law enforcement in its existing form,” the prosecutors said in a statement. “Our follow-up investigation will remain active and ongoing.”
In February, prosecutors dropped a firearm enhancement charge against Baldwin, along with “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed. Officials have not commented as to whether Gutierrez Reed is still facing involuntary manslaughter charges, to which she has pleaded not guilty.
On October 21, 2021, Baldwin, 64, was reportedly showing how he would pull a gun from the holster when the weapon fired in a mock church pew at Bonanza Creek Ranch — fatally shooting Halyna Hutchins in the chest and wounding director Joel Souza in his shoulder. The bullet traveled through Souza’s shoulder before striking Hutchins.
At the time, Baldwin told officers that he believed the gun was cold when he was rehearsing a cross draw. He has also denied pulling the trigger. However, the FBI’s investigation concluded that the gun could not have been fired without someone pulling the trigger.
On the day of the shooting, six camera crew members reportedly walked off the set due to issues with housing and payment. A witness said the six crew members were threatened with security if they did not leave and they were replaced with three non-union members.
Filming has resumed since the deadly shooting. Fox News reported that Souza was spotted on the “Rust” set for the first time on Friday. A Rust Movie Productions spokesperson told the news outlet that live ammunition is — “and always was” — banned from the set.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Listen to the latest episode:
Join Nancy Grace for her new online video series designed to help you protect what you love most — your children.
[Featured image: Alec Baldwin/AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File and Halyna Hutchins/Instagram]