Alec Baldwin has filed a lawsuit over last year’s fatal shooting on the set of Rust, accusing several of the film’s crew members of negligence while trying to “clear his name.”
The lawsuit, filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, names the Western’s first assistant director, gunsmith, ammunition supplier and prop master as defendants.
Baldwin’s countersuit follows a lawsuit filed last year by the film’s executive writer, Mamie Mitchell. The civil suit accused Baldwin of “playing Russian roulette” by pointing a Colt .45 revolver at the film’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and accidentally shooting and killing her. Director Joel Souza was also injured while filming in October 2021.
“More than anyone else on this set, Baldwin was unfairly considered the perpetrator of this tragedy,” said an attorney for Alec Baldwin, Quinn Emanuel’s Luke Nikas, in the complaint. “Through these counterclaims, Baldwin is attempting to clear his name and hold the counter-defendants accountable for their wrongdoing.”
Hutchins was killed by a live round in the gun, authorities said. Questions were asked about how live ammunition got onto the New Mexico set and into the prop gun, and whether crew members had taken adequate safety precautions.
Those named in Baldwin’s lawsuit have denied any guilt as part of an investigation into the shooting and other lawsuits.
Mamie Mitchell’s attorney, Gloria Allred, issued a statement late Friday night responding to Baldwin’s lawsuit, saying his “cross-complaint is a shameful attempt to shift blame onto others, as he has done since he became.” fired the fatal shot that killed Mrs Hutchins.”
“[Baldwin] claims that everyone else was negligent and that everyone else is to blame,” Allred continued. “Mr. Baldwin seems to argue that he’s the only one truly innocent… He was [Baldwin] who could not ensure that the gun did not contain live ammunition, which was against industry protocols and common sense. [He] can’t escape [his] Responsibility for this terrible tragedy by reference [the] Fingers on everyone else.
The film’s first assistant director, Dave Halls, had handed the gun over to Baldwin while announcing “cold gun” to let the crew know a gun without live cartridges was used, according to a search warrant affidavit. According to the affidavit, Halls told investigators that he did not know there were live cartridges in the gun when he gave it to Baldwin.
Baldwin’s lawsuit alleges that the film’s gunsmith, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, “did not carefully inspect the bullets or the gun” and acted “recklessly,” including allegedly carrying the film’s prop guns to a shooting range for target practice.
An attorney for Gutierrez-Reed previously said his client had no idea where the live rounds were coming from and that she was not at the church where the rehearsal was taking place.
“Baldwin is solely responsible for the damage that happened,” her attorney, Jason Bowles, said in response to Baldwin’s lawsuit. “He refused training and aimed the gun and pulled the trigger without the armourer being present. His arrogance is amazing. It’s his debt time.”
Earlier this year, Gutierrez-Reed filed a lawsuit accusing Albuquerque-based prop house PDQ Arm and Prop LLC of supplying the set live rounds in a box meant to contain only dummy rounds.
In an interview with ABC News days after the shooting, Seth Kenney, the prop house owner, denied that investigators of the live round and other live rounds found on set were from his company.
“There’s no way they came from PDQ or from me personally,” Kenney said. “When we ship dummy rounds, they are individually tested for rattles before they are shipped.”
Baldwin’s lawsuit also alleges that the film’s props master, Sarah Zachry, failed to disclose that Gutierrez-Reed “was a safety hazard to those around her.”
The lawsuit alleges that Baldwin suffered “substantial harm” from the defendants’ alleged negligence.
“He has 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 of that day,” the complaint reads. “Baldwin has also lost numerous job opportunities and related income. For example, he was fired from several jobs specifically for the Rust incident and was passed over for other opportunities.”
He is seeking an unspecified amount of damages, including compensation for any damages that Mitchell’s lawsuit may result in.
After a year-long investigation into the shooting, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office last month submitted its report to the local district attorney, who will decide whether to file criminal charges against anyone involved in the shooting.
Last month, the Hutchins family reached a settlement in their wrongful death lawsuit against the film’s producers, including Baldwin.