The family of slain cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on Tuesday filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Alec Baldwin and others on the set of low-budget Western film ‘Rust’ after the actor killed her with a prop gun blast to her chest.
Baldwin was holding a Colt revolver on set in New Mexico during rehearsal when it fired a live round on October 21, 2021, killing Hutchins.
He has maintained that it was Hutchins herself who asked him to point the gun just off camera and toward her armpit before it went off. Director Joel Souza also was wounded in the shooting on the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set near Santa Fe.
The civil complaint, filed in New Mexico on Tuesday, is seeking unspecified but ‘substantial’ damages, including punitive damages.
Attorney Brian Panish, representing Hutchins’ husband, Matthew Hutchins, and their young son, Andros, held a press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday to announce the lawsuit against Baldwin and ‘others who are responsible for the safety on set, and whose reckless behavior and cost-cutting led to the senseless, tragic death of Halyna Hutchins,’ he said.
At least three other lawsuits have been filed over the shooting, but this is the first directly tied to one of the two people shot.
The family of slain cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on Tuesday filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Alec Baldwin stemming from her shooting death on set
Attorneys for Hutchins’ family allege in the complaint that Baldwin and others acted in a ‘reckless’ manner, leading to the cinematographer’s death. Pictured: a visibly shaken Baldwin speaks on the phone just after the shooting
Brian Panish, lead attorney for Hutchins’ family, speaks at a press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday, flanked by photos of the cinematographer and her family
The law firm handling the case produced this video that shows an animated recreation of the shooting, complete with a Baldwin avatar
In the video, Baldwin accepts the revolver and points it at Hutchins, who is standing next to the camera in a church set
Baldwin fires, and the round strikes Hutchins, 42, in the chest
Hutchins collapses to the floor, mortally wounded
The animation shows that the round in the gun was not a typical ‘dummy’ bullet with a hole drilled in the middle
According to Panish, his firm has conducted an independent investigation that he said uncovered ‘numerous violations of industry standards’ by Baldwin and the other defendants named in the complaint, among them Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, assistant director David Halls and several production companies attached to the project.
A video created by the attorneys showed a 3D animated recreation of the shooting, culminating with a computer-generated avatar representing Baldwin pulling, pointing it in Hutchins’ direction, and firing.
The animation shows that the bullet in the chamber was live and not a ‘dummy’ with a hole drilled into it.
The round strikes Hutchins, who clutches her chest and collapses in the video.
Text messages from a camera operator show that he complained to a Rust producer about three accidental gun discharges and said the conditions were ‘super unsafe’
Panish is suing Baldwin and other producers of Rust on behalf of her widowed husband, Matthew (far left) and their son, Andros (center)
Baldwin (right) is seen walking with Matthew and Andros Hutchins in Santa Fe just three days after he shot and killed Halyna on set
The shooting took place on location at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe. Hutchins, 42, is pictured center left in bobble hat next to purple dress
Baldwin has said that at Hutchins’ direction he pulled the hammer back and that it fired when he let go. He has said he didn’t know the gun contained a live round.
The attorneys said in the video presented on Tuesday that Baldwin had ‘refused’ training for the kind of gun draw he was doing when he shot Hutchins.
The Hutchins family’s lawyers presented a list of ‘at least 15 industry standards’ Panish said the film producers had ignored on set.
These included failure to use a prop gun rather than a live weapon, a lack of individuals qualified to handle weapons on set at the time of the shooting, and lack of protective equipment for crew.
Law enforcement officials in New Mexico have described ‘some complacency’ in how weapons were handled on the set of Rust. They have yet to file any charges and have been working to determine where the live rounds found on set might have come from.
Last month, nearly three months after the shooting, Baldwin turned over his cellphone to authorities in his home state of New York. They gathered information from the phone and provided it to Santa Fe County investigators, who had obtained a warrant for it.
Baldwin said he does not believe he will be criminally charged in the shooting.
The film’s script supervisor and its lead camera operator, both of whom were standing a few feet away when Hutchins was shot, each filed a lawsuit over the trauma they went through.
In November, the low-budget movie’s chief lighting technician Serge Svetnoy sued Baldwin for negligence.
And the film’s armorer, Gutierrez Reed, who was named as a defendant in those lawsuits and blamed by some for the shooting, filed her own suit saying an ammunition supplier created dangerous conditions by including live ammunition in a box that was supposed to include only dummy rounds.
In an interview with ABC News in December, Baldwin said he felt incredible sadness over the the shooting, but not guilt.
‘Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but it’s not me,’ Baldwin said.
He said Hutchins had asked him to point the gun just off camera and toward her armpit before it went off.
‘I didn’t pull the trigger,’ Baldwin said. ‘I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them. Never.’
Baldwin claimed that he pointed the gun and pulled the hammer back at Hutchins’ direction
He called Hutchins ‘somebody who was loved by everybody and admired by everybody who worked with her.’
Hutchins, 42, grew up on a remote Soviet military base and worked on documentary films in Eastern Europe before studying film in Los Angeles and embarking on a promising movie-making career.
On her Instagram page, Hutchins identified herself as a ‘restless dreamer’ and ‘adrenaline junkie.’
In a 2019 interview with American Cinematographer, which named her one of the year’s rising stars, she described herself as an ‘army brat’ drawn to movies because ‘there wasn’t that much to do outside.’ She would document herself parachuting and exploring caves, among other adventures, and through her work with British filmmakers, became ‘fascinated with storytelling based on real characters.’
Source by www.dailymail.co.uk