Monday, Jul 04, 2022

Alec Baldwin Sued By 'Rust' Crew Member Over Fatal Film Set Shooting

On October 22, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot in the chest by Baldwin while acting on the set of the movie 'Rust.' The film’s director, Joel Suza, was also injured.

Alec Baldwin Instagram/ @thehotzoneusa

American actor Alec Baldwin who was involved in the fatal on-set shooting of a cinematographer last month is being sued by a 'Rust' crew member, lawyers said on Wednesday.

On October 22, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot in the chest by Baldwin while acting on the set of the movie 'Rust.' The film’s director, Joel Suza, was also injured.

As reported by NDTV, The negligence suit also names armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who maintained through her legal representatives that she was being "framed" for the death of Halyna Hutchins.

The movie's chief lighting technician Serge Svetnoy says in the lawsuit that the unintentional 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.

Baldwin, assistant director Dave Halls, and Gutierrez-Reed did not follow film industry procedure on the handling of weapons and "allowed a revolver loaded with live ammunition to be aimed at living persons," the suit claims.

Baldwin had been given a prop gun by an assistant director who said it was “safe to use”, according to court records. The assistant director did not know it was loaded. Authorities have not invoked criminal charges in the matter against anyone.

The bullet passed through Hutchins and hit director Joel Souza in the shoulder.

Svetnoy, who had worked with Hutchins on a number of previous films said he was close when Baldwin fired the gun on October 21.

He felt a "strange and terrifying whoosh" as the bullet went past him, and he was hit in the face by gunpowder and "residual materials."

The suit describes how he had rushed to help his friend as she lay crumbling 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."

As the film's armorer, 24-year-old Gutierrez-Reed was accountable for firearms and ammunition.

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."

Santa Fe County district attorney, Mary Carmack-Altwies, in an interview broadcast Wednesday, rejected the notion of a conspiracy.

Carmack-Altwies has previously refused to rule out criminal charges over the incident, which has sparked calls for the banning of functional weapons on Hollywood sets.

Baldwin has suggested police officers should be there on sets that use weapons.

He called the tragedy a "one in a trillion episode" and said 'Rust' had a "well-oiled crew".

But reports have appeared since the shooting of disquiet among staff over allegedly careless safety procedures, and Santa Fe Sheriff Adan Mendoza has spoken of "complacency" on the New Mexico set. 

Mendoza said before his officers confiscated 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.