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Alec Baldwin sues ‘Rust’ armorer and crew members over fatal shooting

A video still shows Alec Baldwin talking to investigators about the shooting last year on a movie set in New Mexico. (Associated Press)

Alec Baldwin is suing the armorer and other people associated with the film “Rust” after he was given a loaded gun onset that fired, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Baldwin alleges in the lawsuit that the Oct. 21, 2021, shooting was caused by the negligence of armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was in charge of guns and ammunition on the set, assistant director Dave Halls, who handed the gun to Baldwin and said it was safe, Sarah Zachry, who was in charge of props, and Seth Kenney, who supplied the guns and ammunition on the set and assisted the armorer.

Baldwin, who was sued after the shooting, “seeks to clear his name” and hold the defendants “accountable for their misconduct,” according to the counterclaim filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court by his attorney, Luke Nikas.

“This tragedy happened because live bullets were delivered to the set and loaded into the gun, Gutierrez-Reed failed to check the bullets or the gun carefully, Halls failed to check the gun carefully and yet announced the gun was safe before handing it to Baldwin, and Zachry failed to disclose that Gutierrez-Reed had been acting recklessly offset and was a safety risk to those around her,” Nikas wrote.

FBI tests suggest gun on ‘Rust’ set could not fire without trigger pull

Jason Bowles, an attorney for Gutierrez-Reed, told The Washington Post that Baldwin was the one to blame for the shooting. “Baldwin is solely responsible for this tragedy,” Bowles said. “He declined training on the cross draw, and pointed a weapon, and had his finger on the trigger.” The other defendants did not respond to requests for comment.

Baldwin was inside a building on Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., practicing cocking the gun when it went off, killing cinematographer Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. It was not clear why the prop had live ammunition.

According to interviews conducted by the Sante Fe County Sheriff’s Office, people on the set saw and heard Halls retrieve a .45 Long Colt revolver from Gutierrez-Reed, announce it was a “cold gun” and hand it to Baldwin. The industry term means there are no live rounds in a weapon.

A New Mexico medical examiner ruled the death of Hutchins an accident after she was shot in the chest. An FBI report suggested that the gun could not have fired without its trigger having been pulled.

On Dec. 2, Alec Baldwin spoke with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos about the October 2021 shooting on the set of the film “Rust.” (Video: Julie Yoon/The Washington Post)

Baldwin’s lawsuit is the latest since the shooting. Gutierrez-Reed sued Kenney, saying he was liable for the live ammunition on set. Script supervisor Mamie Mitchell sued several people, including Baldwin, Gutierrez-Reed and Halls, over workplace safety allegations.

Matthew Hutchins, Halyna Hutchins’s husband, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit this year against Baldwin and other entities involved in the production, seeking compensatory and punitive damages. The defendants settled the lawsuit last month.

After news of the settlement, Hutchins called his wife’s death a “terrible accident” and said “I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame” in a statement last month. “All of us believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident.”

Filming will resume next year, according to the statement, with the surviving Hutchins as an executive producer. The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office delivered its investigative report to local prosecutors in October, but the results of the investigation are not public. Local prosecutors have not filed criminal charges in the shooting.

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