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Halyna Hutchins’s family sues Alec Baldwin over ‘Rust’ shooting

‘The lawsuit ... names Alec Baldwin and others who were responsible for the safety on the set, and whose reckless behavior and cost-cutting led to the senseless and tragic death of Halyna Hutchins,’ says attorney Brian Panish

Nathan Place
New York
Tuesday 15 February 2022 20:54 GMT
Lawyers for Halyna Hutchins’ family unveil their wrongful death lawsuit against Alec Baldwin

The family of the cinematographer killed on the set of the movie Rust is suing Alec Baldwin over her death, their lawyers have announced.

Halyna Hutchins, the film’s director of photography, died in October last year after a gun Mr Baldwin was holding went off, shooting her in the torso. On Tuesday, lawyers for Ms Hutchins’ husband, Matthew, and nine-year-old son, Andros, announced that they’d filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Mr Baldwin and others involved in the production.

“The lawsuit, as you can see, names Alec Baldwin and others who were responsible for the safety on the set, and whose reckless behavior and cost-cutting led to the senseless and tragic death of Halyna Hutchins,” attorney Brian Panish said at a press conference.

The suit also names several other defendants, including producer Ryan Donnell Smith, assistant director Dave Halls, armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, and many others.

Mr Baldwin, who was practicing for a scene when the gun fired, has said that he didn’t know the gun was loaded and did not pull the trigger.

“I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them,” the actor told ABC News in December. “The notion there was a live round in that gun did not dawn on me until about 45 minutes later.”

In the lawsuit, however, Ms Hutchins’ family holds Mr Baldwin and others on the set responsible, accusing them of “numerous violations of industry standards.” Mr Panish said that conclusion is based on a thorough investigation his team conducted, including interviews with eyewitnesses and facts gathered from other lawsuits.

At Tuesday’s press conference, the lawyer unveiled a computer-animated video that he said replicated what happened on the Rust set, based on that investigation. That video appeared to show Baldwin shooting Ms Hutchins – a point underscored in the text of the lawsuit.

“On October 21, 2021, Defendant Alec Baldwin recklessly shot and killed Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie Rust,” the complaint says.

But the lawsuit’s larger emphasis is on safety standards, which it says Mr Baldwin and others working on the film repeatedly violated.

“Halyna Hutchins deserved to live,” the complaint says, “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.”

The Independent has reached out to Mr Baldwin’s agent and publicist for comment.

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