Family of Slain Cinematographer Comes for Alec Baldwin: Disgraced Star Gets the News He's Been Dreading
A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against Alec Baldwin over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Baldwin’s movie “Rust” in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in October.
The suit, filed Tuesday in the First Judicial District Court of New Mexico by the family of Hutchins, alleges Baldwin “recklessly shot and killed” her, according to Insider.
“Defendant Baldwin and the other Defendants in this case failed to perform industry standard safety checks and follow basic gun safety rules while using real guns to produce the movie Rust, with fatal consequences,” the lawsuit said.
“Halyna Hutchins deserved to live, and the Defendants had the power to prevent her death if they had only held sacrosanct their duty to protect the safety of every individual on a set where firearms were present instead of cutting corners on safety procedures where human lives were at stake, rushing to stay on schedule and ignoring numerous complaints of safety violations.”
Brian Panish, an attorney representing Matthew and Andros Hutchins, goes beyond the moment of the shooting to cite “reckless behavior” and “cost-cutting” of Baldwin and multiple other defendants, including the film’s armorer, Hannah Guitterez-Reed, and assistant director Dave Halls.
The suit buttresses its point about the safety mindset of those on the set with what it says is a text exchange between a camera operator and a producer it calls “callous sarcasm,” according to The Associated Press.
“We’ve now had 3 accidental discharges. This is super unsafe,” camera operator Lane Luper texted unit production manager Katherine Walters, according to the lawsuit.
“Accidental discharge on the firearm? Awesome. Sounds good,” Walters replied, according to the suit.
Attorney Aaron Dyer, representing Baldwin, said “any claim that Alec was reckless is entirely false.” Dyer noted that the gun was proclaimed as “cold,” which meant it contained no live rounds when it was handed to Baldwin.
“Actors should be able to rely on armorers and prop department professionals, as well as assistant directors, rather than deciding on their own when a gun is safe to use,” Dyer said, according to the AP.
Panish noted, however, that “Mr. Baldwin was the person holding the weapon, that but for him shooting it, she would not have died,” Insider reported.
Baldwin has a “significant portion of liability” for the shooting, “but there are others, and that’s what this case is going to be about — assessing fair apportionment to whoever’s responsible for this senseless tragedy,” Panish said.
The suit said basic safety rules were blatantly disregarded.
Defendants “breached the most basic rules of firearm use on a film production,” the lawsuit said. That breach included “always treating a gun as it were loaded, keeping a gun unloaded unless it is necessary to load it for a scene, and always keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction, among others,” Insider reported.
“Had Defendant Baldwin, the Producers, and the Rust Production Companies taken adequate precautions to ensure firearm safety on the set of Rust or if basic firearm safety rules had been followed on the set,” then Hutchins “would be alive and well, hugging her husband and nine-year-old son,” the lawsuit said.
The suit further alleges that Baldwin did not seek to help Hutchins, 42, after she was shot on the movie set on Oct. 21.
Baldwin has said he never pulled the trigger of the gun.
Panish addressed that point Tuesday, telling the AP, “I think it’s clear what happened. Alec had the gun in his hand, he shot it, Halyna was killed.”
Randi McGinn, another attorney representing the Hutchins family, said the case fits a familiar pattern.
“In New Mexico, we’re used to people coming in from out of town to play cowboy, who don’t know how to use guns,” McGinn said.
Authorities have said they have not ruled out filing criminal charges in connection with the shooting, according to Insider.
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