US actor Alec Baldwin is being sued by a “Rust” crew member over the fatal on-set shooting of a cinematographer last month, lawyers said Wednesday.
The negligence suit also names armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who claimed through her legal representatives that she was being “framed” for the death of Halnya Hutchins.
The low-budget movie’s chief lighting technician Serge Svetnoy says in the lawsuit 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 says Svetnoy felt the bullet fly by him, and he was hit in the face by gunpowder and “residual materials.”
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,” the suit alleges.
Cinematographer Hutchins was shot and killed as Baldwin rehearsed a scene on the 19th-century western in which he fires a gun at the camera.
The Emmy-winner was handed the firearm by Halls, who declared it “cold” — industry lingo for an inert weapon. He later told investigators he had not fully checked it.
The live bullet passed through Hutchins and hit director Joel Souza in the shoulder.
As the film’s armorer, 24-year-old Gutierrez-Reed was responsible 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.”
Bowles said Gutierrez-Reed had met again with investigators from the Santa Fe County Sheriff, and had “offered to share additional, critical information” with them.
Santa Fe county district attorney, Mary Carmack-Altwies, in an interview broadcast Wednesday, rejected the notion of a conspiracy.
“We do not have any proof,” she told ABC News.
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