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Wrongful death settlement approved regarding Alec Baldwin, others connected to fatal shooting on set of 'Rust'

Photos by Jeff Neira/ABC via Getty Images and Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie

A judge has approved a settlement reached in the wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of the family of Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer who was shot and killed on the set of the film "Rust" about a year and a half ago.

Hutchins, a wife and mother, was just 42 years old in October 2021 when she was sitting behind a camera while Alec Baldwin, an actor in and producer of the Western movie, practiced a cross-draw maneuver with a Colt .45 revolver. Baldwin then allegedly fired the gun, which was supposed to be loaded with dummy rounds but instead contained a live round. Hutchins was struck in the stomach and was quickly airlifted to a hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, about 65 miles away, where she was pronounced dead.

In February 2022, four months after the shooting, Hutchins' husband, Matthew Hutchins, filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of himself and his son, Andros, who is now 10 years old. The lawsuit claimed that Baldwin and others, including the production's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, engaged in "reckless behavior and cost-cutting" measures that resulted in Hutchins' untimely death.

By October 2022, one year after Hutchins died, the various parties named in the lawsuit had reached an undisclosed agreement but needed a judge to sign off on it. On Thursday, a judge finally gave his approval for the agreement reached to protect Andros, a minor. Andros will receive annuity payments from the lawsuit when he is 18 and 22 years old. Other details regarding the settlement were sealed by a judge in April.

Earlier this year, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed were charged with involuntary manslaughter. However, those charges were dropped in April after special prosecutors in New Mexico determined that further investigation was needed into the incident. Though an FBI report indicated that the Colt .45 Baldwin had been using that day could not have fired on its own, as Baldwin had repeatedly claimed, other forensic investigations suggested that the gun, an antique, may have had worn joints and a faulty trigger control.

Should prosecutors determine at a later time that Baldwin and/or Gutierrez-Reed were criminally responsible for the shooting, they could still face charges. David Halls, the film's first assistant director, has already agreed to plead no contest to negligent use of a deadly weapon.

Joel Souza, the director of "Rust," was also wounded in the shooting. After the bullet tore through Hutchins' stomach, it struck Souza in the shoulder. He ultimately recovered from his injuries.

Production of "Rust" was suspended immediately following the shooting, but resumed in Montana in April and then wrapped about a month later, on May 22. As part of the settlement, Matthew Hutchins, Hutchins' widower, was named an executive producer.

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