SANTA FE, NM – Prosecutors said Thursday they knew «fairly early on» in their investigation into the fatal shooting of «Rust» cinematographer Halyna Hutchins that criminal charges would be filed.

First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and Special Counsel Andrea Reeb told NBC News they are confident they will win convictions in their case against Alec Baldwin and «Rust» gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reed for their alleged role in the death. of Hutchins, 42. on October 21, 2021.

“We were very confident that it was going to be a criminal case pretty early on, once we started looking at everything,” Reeb said.

«I’m sure he was sure he wasn’t going to be charged. But he’s not above the law and he’s someone who committed a crime, and we’re going to enforce the law, hold him accountable,» de Baldwin said.

Prosecutors announced Thursday that Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will each face two counts of manslaughter.

The first assistant director, David Halls, «has signed a plea agreement on the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon,» which will likely lead to six months of probation, prosecutors said. He also agreed to testify for the state, authorities said.

Baldwin was criminally responsible as both the alleged shooter and the «Rust» producer who should have overseen security, authorities said.

Alec Baldwin practicing a scene with a revolver on the set of the western "Oxide" before accidentally shooting and killing the film's cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins.
Alec Baldwin practicing a scene with a revolver on the set of the western «Rust» before cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot. Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office via Alamy

«He’s a little bit of both. He’s a producer. He’s on that set and he’s seen everything that’s going on,» Reeb said.

«The misfires on set, the way the gun was delivered to him, he has experience. He understands what the proper protocol is for safety and he was just ignoring it.»

Prosecutors also rejected Baldwin’s claim that he never fired the round that killed Hutchins.

In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in December 2021, Baldwin said he missed that fatal round.

«That’s not true and we know that from the FBI lab report,» Carmack-Altwies said. «That gun would not have fired without the trigger being pulled.»

The district attorney said Baldwin may simply not remember opening fire.

«It’s possible that he didn’t know he pulled the trigger, that it was an unconscious decision,» Carmack-Altwies said. «But we have video of him where his hand was on the trigger and we know from the FBI report that he pulled the trigger.»

Baldwin’s defense attorney, Luke Nikas, called his client’s prosecution a «terrible judicial error,» while Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney called Hutchins’ death a «tragic accident.»

Prosecutors said the events leading up to the October 21, 2021 shooting on that day could be both an accident and a crime.

«Just because something is an accident doesn’t mean it’s not a crime and that’s what we have here in this case,» Carmack-Altwies said.

“Because an accident that is not criminal is something that simply happens by an act of God. But this was something that was more than just negligence. These are people acting recklessly, people not doing their jobs, people not following safety protocols, not following safety standards and violating all the standards that we all have to follow if we have a gun in our hands.»

SAG-AFTRA, the organization that represents approximately 160,000 actors and other professional entertainers, opposed the charges.

“The death of Halyna Hutchins is a tragedy, all the more so for its preventable nature. It is not a dereliction of duty or a criminal act on the part of any artist,» the group said in a statement on Thursday.

“The prosecutor’s assertion that an actor has a duty to ensure the functional and mechanical operation of a firearm on a production set is incorrect and uninformed. An actor’s job is not to be an expert on weapons or firearms. Firearms are provided for use under the guidance of multiple skilled professionals directly responsible for the safe and accurate operation of that firearm. Additionally, the employer is always responsible for providing a safe work environment at all times, including hiring and supervising the work of weapons-trained professionals.

Prosecutors have admitted they may never get to the bottom of a fundamental question about the 2021 tragedy: Who brought live bullets to the set of «Rust» and how did those bullets get into the gun Baldwin was given?

«Unfortunately, that may be a question we can never answer,» Reeb said. “We are focused on the problem that they did get to the set and nobody got it. None of these three individuals caught him.»

Prosecutors declined to say whether Baldwin was offered the chance to plead guilty in exchange for his testimony.

Miguel Almaguer reported from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Diana Dasrath from Los Angeles, and David K. Li from New York City.