The family of Halyna Hutchins, who was shot and killed on the set of the western Rust last year, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Alec Baldwin, his co-producers, and several crew members, Variety reports.
On October 21st, during rehearsals at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico, a gun that had been inexplicably loaded with live ammunition went off. Baldwin was holding the gun, though he has claimed that he did not pull the trigger. The bullet penetrated through Hutchins’ torso and buried in the shoulder of the film’s director, Joel Souza. Hutchins died after being airlifted to an Albuquerque hospital.
The suit has been filed on behalf of her husband Matthew Hutchins and their nine-year-old son. Brian Panish, who represents the Hutchins estate, said, “He lost his long-term wife who was the love of his life, and his son lost a mother. It never should have happened.”
The case is under investigation by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. According to search warrants, the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, loaded the Colt .45 believing a real bullet was a dummy round. She then handed the weapon to first assistant director Dave Halls, who skipped the customary safety run-through. Instead he announced, “cold gun,” to signal that the prop was safe, and handed it to Baldwin.
As Consequence has previously reported, both Halls and Guitterez Reed have histories of safety issues. They have been named in the wrongful death suit alongside prop master Sarah Zachry, prop supplier Seth Kenney, and line producer Gabrielle Pickle. Seven producers besides Baldwin have also been included in the lawsuit: Allen Cheney, Matthew DelPiano, Nathan Klingher, Anjul Nigam, Emily Salveson, Ryan Smith, and Ryan Winterstern.
The estate’s attorney Randi McGinn said, “We’re used to people coming in from out of town to play cowboy who don’t know how to use guns. You don’t hand somebody a gun until you give them safety training… No one should ever die with a real gun on a make-believe movie set.” She added that she expects the case to go to trial in 18 months to two years.
Santa Fe County is still mulling criminal charges.