Alec Baldwin is suing the gunsmith and several other crew members involved in the production of “Rust” for negligence more than a year after a gun he was carrying discharged.and injuring director Joel Souza on a western set in New Mexico. In the lawsuit, Baldwin claims he was not responsible for the safety of the set and did not know there were cartridges in the gun.
The lawsuit, filed Friday, alleges that gunman Hannah Gutierrez-Reed “failed to carefully check the bullets or the weapon.” Assistant director David Halls “failed to thoroughly check the gun and yet announced that the gun was safe before handing it over to Baldwin.” and lead master Sarah Zachry “failed to find that Gutierrez-Reed had acted recklessly off set and posed a safety risk to those around her.”
Additionally, Baldwin, who was also one of the film’s six producers, “did not know and had no reason to know of any of these facts,” the lawsuit states.
The shooting took place on October 21, 2021, inside a church building in a movie shot outside of Santa Fe. Baldwin was sitting on a wooden bench, trying to unholster his gun and point it at the camera, when he fired it, according to a search warrant filed by Santa Fe County sheriff’s investigators.
The lawsuit alleges that Baldwin “pulled back and then released the hammer” and the gun fired, striking Hutchins, 42, and Souza, 48. Hutchins was hit in the chest and Souza in the shoulder.
Baldwin has repeatedly said it was an accident, insisting. However, an FBI forensic report found that the gun would not have fired unless the trigger was pulled, according to the Associated Press. The New Mexico Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Hutchins’ death accidental.
In the days after the shooting, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza confirmed that the loaded firearm was “handled and/or inspected” by Gutierrez-Reed and Halls before being shot by Baldwin.
The lawsuit says Gutierrez-Reed specifically told Baldwin not to check the guns on set — that it was her job to do so. However, he did not properly inspect the gun before handing it over to Baldwin, according to the lawsuit. She also claims she was disorganized, leaving ammunition scattered throughout the set, and failed to secure weapons.
Halls, for his part, according to the lawsuit, either failed to check the gun or failed to report his concern about a round in the gun that he told a witness looked different from the others. Instead, he told Baldwin the gun was “cold,” or safe to use.
Also named as a defendant in the suit is Seth Kenney and his company, PDQ, which supplied most of the guns and ammunition on the set.
The lawsuit includes photos of a disorganized space where the guns and ammunition used on the “Rust” set were allegedly kept. He also said investigators found multiple rounds of ammunition on the “Rust” set and that the FBI found live cartridges mixed in with blanks during a search at PDQ.
“As a prop supplier, Kenney and PDQ (located at 126 Monroe St.) should not have actually stored ammunition in the same disorderly facilities, let alone combined them,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit also featured emails sent between Baldwin and others in which he asks about who is in charge of guns on set and requests weapons training before filming. According to the lawsuit, the emails show that he was not involved in hiring the gunsmith and that he “takes safety seriously and wanted to ensure he received the safety training available on the Rust set.”
The shooting has led to a variety of lawsuits. Last year, “Rust” script supervisor Mamie MitchellBaldwin and the other producers, saying he should have checked the gun himself. Since then, several other lawsuits have been filed, and the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office turned over to prosecutors for possible charges.
Mendoza described “a degree of negligence” on the set of “Rust,” but is leaving decisions about possible criminal charges to prosecutors.
Last month, the family of Baldwin and Hutchinsand the actor announced that filming will continue.
Baldwin’s lawsuit adds that the 67-year-old actor “has been unfairly implicated as the perpetrator of this tragedy.”
“She has suffered physically and emotionally from the grief caused by these events,” the lawsuit said. “Not a day goes by that he doesn’t think about and suffer from the events that happened that day.”