‘No one is above the law,’ New Mexico D.A. warns on anniversary of deadly ‘Rust’ shooting

Candles are lit at a vigil for Halyna Hutchins
Jamie Frazer places a candle during a vigil on Oct. 24, 2021, for cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was fatally shot on the set of the movie “Rust.”
(Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

On the one-year anniversary of the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, a top prosecutor in New Mexico renewed her stark warning that “no one is above the law.”

A year ago Friday, actor Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed Hutchins and wounded the director Joel Souza during a rehearsal for the western “Rust” on a set near Santa Fe.

Although her husband, Matthew Hutchins, has settled a wrongful death suit against the production company, saying the tragedy was a “terrible accident,” First Judicial Dist. Atty. Mary Carmack-Altwies has said the settlement has no bearing on the criminal investigation.

After the shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, proposed legislation to ban guns on sets has been scaled back and no changes have been made.

Oct. 21, 2022

In a statement Friday, Carmack-Altwies noted that she was awaiting a report from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office and is still considering whether she will bring charges against those involved.


The district attorney has already signaled her intention to potentially bring charges against up to four people, including Baldwin, and has appointed a special prosecutor.

Carmack-Altweis “remains committed to pursuing justice for the victims, and getting answers for the community,” spokesperson Heather Brewer said in the statement. “No one is above the law and every victim deserves justice.”

After the family of Halyna Hutchins settled their wrongful death suit with the producers of ‘Rust’ including Alec Baldwin, what does it mean for any criminal case?

Oct. 5, 2022

The killing of Hutchins, which was preceded by complaints among crew members over accidental gun discharges and safety other lapses, roiled Hollywood and led to calls to ban guns on sets and improve safety for crews.

However, a year after the tragedy little appears to have changed on film sets to make them safer. While some prop masters and armorers have noticed a shift away from using real guns, legislation to regulate their use in the entertainment industry has been stymied.

There is a review under way of the industry protocols on the use of guns on sets, but no changes have been agreed to.