Entertainment Movies Baldwin, others sued over Rust shooting

Baldwin, others sued over Rust shooting

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The head of lighting on the film Rust has filed a lawsuit over Alec Baldwin’s fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the movie’s New Mexico set.

Serge Svetnoy’s suit alleges negligence causing him “severe emotional distress” that will haunt him forever.

Mr Svetnoy said the bullet that killed his close friend Hutchins narrowly missed him, and he held her head as she died.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, names nearly two dozen defendants associated with the film including Baldwin, who was star and a producer of the movie.

David Halls, the assistant director who handed Baldwin the gun, and Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was in charge of weapons on the set, are also named.

Halyna Hutchins Alec Baldwin
Halyna Hutchins was killed after being shot in the chest with a live round. Photo: Getty

It is the first known lawsuit of what could be many stemming from the October 21 shooting, which also injured Rust director Joel Souza.

“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 lawsuit says.

The suit says Mr Svetnoy was setting up lighting within two metres of Baldwin.

“What happened next will haunt plaintiff forever,” the suit says.

“He felt a strange and terrifying whoosh of what felt like pressurised air from his right. He felt what he believed was gunpowder and other residual materials directly strike the right side of his face.”

Then, with his glasses scratched and his hearing muffled, he knelt to help Ms Hutchins, the suit says.

Attorneys and representatives for the defendants did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Ms Gutierrez Reed’s lawyer, Jason Bowles, said in a statement on Wednesday that “we are convinced this was sabotage and Hannah is being framed. We believe that the scene was tampered with as well before the police arrived”.

Mr Bowles said his client has provided authorities with a full interview and continues to assist them.

“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,” the statement said.

Ms Gutierrez Reed said last week she had inspected the gun Baldwin shot and did not know how a live bullet ended up inside.

Authorities have said assistant director Mr Halls handed the weapon to Baldwin and announced “cold gun”, indicating the weapon was safe to use.

Baldwin said on video on October 30 the shooting was a “one-in-a-trillion event”.

Authorities have said much investigation is still needed before getting to a point where criminal charges could be considered.