Alec Baldwin filed a lawsuit for last year fatal shot on the set of “Rust”, alleging negligence by several members of the film’s crew while seeking to “clear his name”.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, names the Western’s first assistant manager, gunsmith, ammunition supplier and props man as defendants.
Baldwin’s countersuit follows a lawsuit filed last year by the film’s script supervisor, Mamie Mitchell. The civil suit accused Baldwin of “playing Russian roulette” by pointing a Colt .45 revolver at the film’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, accidentally shooting and killing her. Director Joel Souza was also injured in the October 2021 shooting.
“More than anyone else on this set, Baldwin was wrongly held to be the perpetrator of this tragedy,” a lawyer for Alec Baldwin, Quinn Emanuel’s Luke Nikas, said in the complaint. “Through these counterclaims, Baldwin seeks to clear his name and hold the counter-defendants accountable for their wrongdoing.”
Hutchins was killed by live ammunition inside the weapon, authorities said. Questions centered on how live ammunition got to the New Mexico shelf and into the prop gun and if proper safety precautions were taken by crew members.
Those named in Baldwin’s lawsuit have denied guilt as part of an investigation into the shooting and other prosecutions.
Mamie Mitchell’s attorney, Gloria Allred, released a statement Friday evening in response to Baldwin’s lawsuit, saying his “cross-complaint is a disgraceful attempt to shift the blame onto others, just as he has done since ‘he fired the fatal shot that killed Mrs Hutchins.
“[Baldwin] claims that everyone was negligent and everyone is at fault,” Allred continued. “Mr. Baldwin seems to assert that he is the only one who is truly innocent…It was [Baldwin] who failed to ensure the weapon did not contain live ammunition in violation of industry protocols and common sense. [He] can’t escape [his] responsibility for this terrible tragedy by pointing the finger [the] finger to everyone.
The film’s first assistant director, Dave Halls, handed the weapon to Baldwin while proclaiming a “cold weapon”, to let the crew know that a weapon without live ammunition was being used, according to a search warrant certificate. Halls allegedly told investigators he did not know there were live ammunition in the gun when he gave it to Baldwin, according to the affidavit.
Baldwin’s lawsuit alleges that the film’s gunsmith, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, “failed to carefully check the bullets or the gun” and acted “recklessly”, including taking the film’s propeller guns into a shooting range for target practice.
A lawyer for Gutierrez-Reed previously said his client had no idea where the live bullets were coming from and was not in the church where the rehearsal was taking place.
Earlier this year, Gutierrez-Reed filed a complaint accusing Albuquerque prop house PDQ Arm and Prop LLC of supplying the live cartridges in a box that was supposed to contain only dummy cartridges.
In an interview with ABC News days after the shooting, prop house owner Seth Kenney denied that investigators of the live tour and other live tours found on set were from his company.
“There’s no way they’re from the PDQ or me personally,” Kenney said. “When we send dummy cartridges, they are individually tested before being sent.”
Baldwin’s lawsuit further alleges that the film’s prop master, Sarah Zachry, failed to disclose that Gutierrez-Reed “posed a safety risk to those around her.”
The lawsuit claims that Baldwin “suffered substantial damages” as a result of the defendants’ alleged negligence.
“He suffered physically and emotionally from the grief caused by these events. Not a day goes by that he does not think about and suffer from the events that occurred that day,” the complaint reads. “Baldwin also lost many job opportunities and associated income. For example, he was fired from several jobs expressly because of the ‘Rust’ incident and passed over for other opportunities.”
He seeks an undetermined amount of damages, including compensation for any damages that may arise from Mitchell’s lawsuit
After a year-long investigation into the shooting, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office last month submitted his report to the local district attorney, who will decide whether to bring criminal charges against anyone involved in the shooting.
Last month, the Hutchins family reached a settlement in his wrongful death lawsuit against the film’s producers, including Baldwin.