Alec Baldwin Sued Over Fatal ‘Rust’ Shooting
Alec Baldwin is being sued by a crew member over the fatal shooting on the set of his movie Rust that led to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins last month.
The negligence suit also names armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, whose legal representatives had claimed that she was being “framed” for the death of Halyna Hutchins.
In the lawsuit, the movie’s chief lighting technician Serge Svetnoy says that the accidental killing “was caused by the negligent acts and omissions” of lead actor and producer Baldwin and others.
“Simply put, there was no reason for a live bullet to be placed in that .45 Colt revolver or to be present anywhere on the ‘Rust’ set, and the presence of a bullet in a revolver posed a lethal threat to everyone in its vicinity,” the suit, submitted to a Los Angeles court, says.
The suit also alleges that “Baldwin, assistant director Dave Halls and Gutierrez-Reed did not follow film industry practice on the handling of weapons and “allowed a revolver loaded with live ammunition to be pointed at living persons.”
As Alec Baldwin rehearsed a scene onset of the 19th-century western where he fires a gun at the camera, Cinematographer Hutchins was shot and killed.
The Emmy-winner had been handed the gun by another crew member, Halls, who declared it “cold” — industry lingo for an inert weapon. Halls later told investigators he had not fully checked it.
The live bullet passed through Hutchins and hit director Joel Souza in the shoulder.
Svetnoy, who worked with Hutchins on several films, revealed that he was close when Baldwin fired the gun on October 21.
He also noted that he felt a “strange and terrifying whoosh” as the bullet flew past him, and he was hit in the face by gunpowder and “residual materials.”
The suit also describes how he ran to help his friend as she lay dying on the ground.
“As he held her, he noticed that the hand placed behind her back was becoming wet with her blood,” it says.
“The next 20-30 minutes felt like the longest of plaintiff’s life as he tried to aid and comfort Ms Hutchins, watching helplessly as her consciousness faded inexorably away.”
The film’s armourer, 24-year-old Gutierrez-Reed, responsible for firearms and ammunition, has refused to comment on the incident directing all questions to her lawyers.
In a statement issued Wednesday, her lawyers insisted again she did not know why there was a live round on the set.
“We are asking for a full and complete investigation of all of the facts, including the live rounds themselves, how they ended up in the ‘dummies’ box, and who put them in there,” attorney Jason Bowles said.
“We are convinced that this was sabotage, and Hannah is being framed. We believe that the scene was tampered with as well before the police arrived.”
Bowles further revealed that Gutierrez-Reed had once again met with the Santa Fe County Sheriff investigators and had “offered to share additional, critical information” with them.
In an interview broadcast on Wednesday, Santa Fe County district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies rejected the notion of a conspiracy.
“We do not have any proof,” she told ABC News.
Carmack-Altwies has also refused to rule out criminal charges over the incident, which has sparked calls for functional firearms to be banned from Hollywood sets.
Baldwin, in turn, suggested that police officers be stationed on sets that use weapons.
Describing the tragedy as a “one in a trillion episode”, and Baldwin insisted “Rust” had a “well-oiled crew”.
However, reports have emerged of disquiet among staff over allegedly lax safety procedures, and Santa Fe Sheriff Adan Mendoza has spoken of “complacency” on the New Mexico set.
Mendoza also revealed that his officers had seized more than 500 rounds of ammunition from the set, which they believed to be a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and some suspected live ammunition.