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

Jamie Frazer, who works in costumes, places a candle during a vigil on Oct. 24, 2021 at IATSE Local 80 in Burbank, California for cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was fatally shot by Alec Baldwin on the "Rust" movie set at Bonanza Creek Ranch outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Oct. 21, 2021. The movie's director Joel Souza also was injured in the accident.   (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
By Anousha Sakoui 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 today, 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 widower, Matthew Hutchins, has settled a wrongful death suit with the family, saying the tragedy was “terrible accident,” First Judicial District Atty. Mary Carmack-Altwies has said the settlement has no bearing on the criminal investigation.

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.

“District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altweis remains committed to pursuing justice for the victims, and getting answers for the community,” Heather Brewer, spokesperson, Office of the First Judicial District Attorney in New Mexico, said in a statement. “As soon as the District Attorney receives the full report from the Santa Fe County Sheriff, she and her team of professional attorneys and investigators will thoroughly review all the evidence and make a thoughtful decision about whether to bring charges against those involved. No one is above the law and every victim deserves justice.”

The killing of Hutchins, which was preceded by complaints among crew members over accidental gun discharges and other lapses, roiled Hollywood and led to calls to ban guns 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 that govern the use of guns on sets, but no changes have yet been agreed to.