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Family of slain 'Rust' cinematographer sues Alec Baldwin, other producers for 'reckless conduct'


The family's attorney claims Baldwin bears 'a significant portion of the liability' in Halyna Hutchins' death

ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

The family of Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer shot and killed during production of the movie "Rust" last year, filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Tuesday against Alec Baldwin and other producers for their involvement in the fatal shooting.

Hutchins, 42, died on Oct. 21 while preparing to film a scene at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico. The crew was reportedly lining up camera angles when an old-fashioned revolver held by Baldwin went off, sending a bullet through Hutchins's torso. The bullet would go on to strike the film's director, Joel Souza, as well, before lodging in his shoulder.

Hutchins is survived by her husband, Matthew Hutchins, and the couple's 9-year-old son, Andros.

In the lawsuit, the family accused Baldwin and others of reckless conduct and aggressive cost-cutting measures that endangered the crew and ultimately led to Hutchins' death.

"Halyna Hutchins deserved to live, 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 lawsuit states, according to the New York Times.

In a news conference held in Los Angeles, California, after filing the suit, attorney Brian Parish said the family is seeking "substantial" and "fair" compensation, noting Matthew "lost his long-term wife who was the love of his life, and his son has lost a mother."

"It is a young boy who will never have a mother," Panish said, according to Yahoo News. "We need to hold the people responsible that engaged in this cost-cutting and reckless behavior causing this senseless death... it never should have happened."

Panish would go on to say that many people are culpable in Hutchins's death, though he singled out Baldwin.

"Mr. Baldwin was the person holding the weapon that, but for him shooting it, she would not have died. So clearly, he has significant portion of liability but there are others and that's what this case is gonna be about," Panish said.

"Alec had the gun in his hand, he shot it, Halyna was killed," Panish said. "The gun cannot fire unless the trigger is engaged and the hammer is back."

In the months following the tragic incident, Baldwin has expressed remorse but maintained that he was pointing the gun at Hutchins at her request and did not pull the trigger, a claim that has been backed up by "Rust" assistant director, Dave Halls. Baldwin has also maintained that the gun was declared "cold" moments before he took hold of it.

"Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn't even supposed to be on the property," Baldwin said in December. "Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can't say who that is, but I know it's not me."

Critics, however, have suggested that guns don't just go off and that Baldwin and others on set appeared to have been breaking the most basic standards of gun safety. Reports surfaced claiming the crew had used firearms used in the movie for live-ammo target practices.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the incident, with a focus on determining how a live round made it onto the set and inside a gun that would be used in the movie.

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