'Rust' crew member files negligence lawsuit over fatal shooting

Reuters

Posted at Nov 11 2021 06:37 AM

Actor Alec Baldwin of the film
Actor Alec Baldwin of the film "LymeLife" poses during the 33rd Toronto International Film Festival September 8, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

LOS ANGELES, Nov 10 (Reuters) - A crew member who witnessed the fatal shooting on the "Rust" movie set last month filed a negligence lawsuit on Wednesday against actor Alec Baldwin and the film's producers, Deadline Hollywood and celebrity website TMZ reported.

Serge Svetnoy, the electrician on the set in Santa Fe, New Mexico, accused the producers and others of failing to implement safety standards and of allowing "a revolver loaded with live ammunition to be pointed at living persons on the Rust set," according to the civil lawsuit obtained by Deadline.

Svetnoy's lawsuit was thought to be the first filed in the accidental fatal shooting by Baldwin in October. Authorities in Santa Fe, New Mexico, are still investigating and no criminal charges have been brought against anyone.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on Oct. 21, and director Joel Souza was wounded when a gun Baldwin had been told was safe fired off a live bullet, investigators have said. Other live rounds have also been found on the set.

"Simply put, there was no reason for a live bullet to be placed in that .45 Colt revolver or to be present anywhere on the 'Rust' set and the presence of a bullet in the revolver posed a lethal threat to everyone in its vicinity," the lawsuit said.

Svetnoy was one of a handful of people on set when the fatal shooting happened. He said in the lawsuit that he held Hutchins in his arms as she bled from being shot in the chest, adding that it would "haunt him forever."

The lawsuit also names armorer Hannah Gutierrez, who was in charge of weapons, and assistant director Dave Halls, who told investigators it was he who handed Baldwin the gun during a rehearsal.

Representatives for Baldwin, Halls, Gutierrez and the producers did not immediately return requests for comment on Wednesday.

Svetnoy is seeking unspecified damages.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant in Los Angeles Editing by Matthew Lewis