SANTA FE, New Mexico — The Santa Fe District Attorney will announce Thursday whether charges will be filed in the 2021 fatal shooting of cinematographer Alec Baldwin while rehearsing for the Western movie Rust.

Santa Fe County District Attorney Mary Cormack-Altwice said the decision would be announced Thursday morning in a statement and on social media without prosecutors making public appearances.

“The announcement will be a solemn event made in keeping with the office’s commitment to uphold the integrity of the judicial process and respect the victim’s family,” said Heather Brewer, spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office.

Cameraman Galina Hutchins died shortly after being shot while preparing a scene at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe on October 21, 2021. Baldwin pointed a gun at Hutchins when the gun went off, killing her and injuring director Joel Souza.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza, who led the initial investigation into Hutchins’ death, described “some degree of contempt” at the scene. But after announcing the results of the year-long investigation in October, he reserved decisions on possible criminal charges from the prosecutor’s office. This report does not specify how the ammunition ended up on the set.

After taking control of the investigation, Carmack-Altwice obtained an emergency request of $300,000 for the state to pay for the services of a special prosecutor, a special investigator and other experts and personnel.

Baldwin, known for his roles on “30 Rock” and “The Hunt for Red October” and his impression of former President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” called Hutchins’ killing a “tragic accident.”

He sought to clear his name by suing the people involved in the handling and delivery of the loaded gun that was handed to him on set. Baldwin, who also co-produced the movie Rust, said he was told the gun was safe.

In his lawsuit, Baldwin said that while rehearsing a scene, Baldwin pointed a gun in her direction, pulled back and pulled the trigger of the gun, which fired.

Sandy Kenyon of Eyewitness News discussed how this shooting could have happened and the potential charges that could be brought against Baldwin and others involved.

The New Mexico Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the shooting an accident after completing an autopsy and reviewing law enforcement reports.

The New Mexico Bureau of Occupational Safety and Health has imposed the maximum fine on Rust Movie Productions based on scathing reports of safety violations, including evidence that production managers took little or no action to address two blank cartridge misfires on set before the fatal shooting. shooting. .

Rust Movie Productions continues to challenge the basis of a $137,000 fine imposed by regulators who say production managers on set failed to follow standard industry protocols for firearms safety.

The gunman who looked after the firearms on set, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, has been the subject of increased attention in the case, along with an independent ammunition supplier. Gutierrez Reed’s attorney said the gunman did not put a live round in the gun that killed Hutchins and believes she was the victim of sabotage. Authorities said they found no evidence of this.

Investigators initially found 500 rounds of ammunition on the movie set on the outskirts of Santa Fe — a mix of blank rounds, dummy rounds and what appeared to be live ammunition. Industry experts say live tours should never be on set.

In April 2022, the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department released numerous files, including body-cam footage of a fatally wounded Hutchins arriving and passed out as the rescue helicopter arrived. Witness interviews, e-mails, text conversations, ammunition inventories and hundreds of photographs completed this collection of evidence.

State workplace safety regulators said immediate gun safety concerns were addressed when “Rust” stopped filming, and that the return to filming in New Mexico will be accompanied by new safety inspections.

The Hutchins family – widower Matthew Hutchins and son Andros – have settled their lawsuit against the producers under a settlement that sees filming resume with Matthew as an executive producer.

Rust has been mired in controversy since its inception in early October 2021. Seven crew members walked off the set hours before the fatal shooting amid disagreements over working conditions.

Hutchins’ death affected the negotiation of safety clauses in the crew’s union contracts with Hollywood producers and prompted other filmmakers to choose computer-generated images of gunfire over real weapons with blank rounds to minimize the risks.

Copyright © 2023, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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