The family of the cinematographer who was killed by a firearm on the set of the movie “Rust” has filed a wrongful death suit against actor Alec Baldwin, who discharged the weapon.
Halyna Hutchins’s family announced at a Feb. 15 press conference the suit names actor Alec Baldwin, armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, assistant director David Halls, as well as the production companies and producers as defendants. It was filed in New Mexico, where the movie was being filmed.
“I think it’s clear what happened,” Brian Panish, lead attorney for the family, told reporters. “Alec had the gun in his hand. He shot it. Halyna was killed.”
“There are many people culpable [for the incident], but Mr. Baldwin was the person holding the weapon, that but for him shooting it, she would not have died,” Panish said.
Hutchins died on Oct. 21, 2021, while she and Baldwin were preparing to film a scene where the actor draws his revolver.
Baldwin has claimed he was told the gun was safe to handle and that the incident was an accident.
“The investigation remains open and ongoing,” Juan Rios, a spokesman for the Santa Fe County Sherriff’s office, told Fox News.
Authorities have yet to explain why a live round was loaded into the barrel of the gun.
Following the 42-year-old’s on-set shooting, the safety conditions of the “Rust” set have come into question.
According to Panish, Baldwin and the production company “disregarded at least 15 industry standards” on the set. He also said Baldwin refused to be trained to cross-draw a revolver.
Director Joel Souza was also injured during the incident.
The lawyer said the “reckless behavior and cost-cutting” of the plaintiffs “led to the senseless and tragic death of Halyna Hutchins.”
Court documents note that there were earlier reports of misfires on the set, that guns and ammunition were not properly checked, and that the production crew and staff were negligent of gun-safety practices.
Baldwin claimed in a December interview with ABC News that he “did not observe any safety or security issues at all” on the movie’s set
“Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me,” he said at the time. He added “The trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger.”
The legal action was brought by Hutchins’ husband Matthew and son Andros.
“Matt is grieving. He understands that a lawsuit is needed to get answers,” Panish said. “He wants answers. He wants closure.”
Hutchin’s family are seeking punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial, funeral and burial expenses, and compensatory damages for “the loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, guidance, training, assistance and moral support,” per People Magazine.
The civil suit will not inhibit or conflict with law enforcement’s investigation.