Family of Halyna Hutchins files wrongful death lawsuit against Alec Baldwin over deadly 'Rust' shooting

Family of Halyna Hutchins files wrongful death lawsuit against Alec Baldwin over deadly 'Rust' shooting
The actor Alec Baldwin at the Hamptons International Film Festival in East Hampton, New York, on October 7, 2021.Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for National Geographic
  • The family of Halyna Hutchins has filed a wrongful death lawsuit over her fatal shooting on the set of "Rust" last year.
  • Hutchins, a cinematographer, was fatally shot by actor Alec Baldwin while he was rehearsing a scene.

The family of Halyna Hutchins — the cinematographer who was fatally shot last year on the film set of "Rust" by actor Alec Baldwin during a scene rehearsal — has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baldwin, the film's armorer, and other producers over the incident, attorneys representing the woman's family announced on Tuesday.

The suit filed on Tuesday in the First Judicial District Court of New Mexico alleges Baldwin "recklessly shot and killed" Hutchins on the Santa Fe, New Mexico, movie set.

Hutchins, 42, was fatally shot as she set up a scene inside a church building setting on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set on October 21.

"Defendant Baldwin and the other Defendants in this case failed to perform industry standard safety checks and follow basic gun safety rules while using real guns to produce the movie Rust, with fatal consequences," the lawsuit says.

It adds: "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."


Family of Halyna Hutchins files wrongful death lawsuit against Alec Baldwin over deadly 'Rust' shooting
Halyna Hutchins attends the SAGindie Sundance Filmmakers Reception at Cafe Terigo on January 28, 2019 in Park City, Utah.Fred Hayes/Getty Images

Hutchins family attorney Brian Panish said during a press conference that the "reckless behavior" and "cost-cutting" of Baldwin and the more than 20 defendants named in the suit who include the movie's armorer, Hannah Guitterez-Reed, and assistant director Dave Halls, "led to the senseless and tragic death of Halyna Hutchins."

A lawyer representing Baldwin and other producers of "Rust" told Insider in a statement: "Everyone's hearts and thoughts remain with Halyna's family as they continue to process this unspeakable tragedy. We continue to cooperate with the authorities to determine how live ammunition arrived on the 'Rust' set in the first place."

The attorney, Aaron Dyer, said "any claim that Alec was reckless is entirely false" and pointed to how the gun was described as a "cold gun" before it was handed to Baldwin.

"Actors should be able to rely on armorers and prop department professionals, as well as assistant directors, rather than deciding on their own when a gun is safe to use," Dyer said.

Lawyers for Guitterez-Reed and Halls did not immediately return requests comment by Insider on Tuesday.


The shooting happened as Baldwin was practicing a cross-draw technique that involved him pointing a Colt .45 revolver at a camera on the set, according to affidavits previously released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office.

A bullet from the gun struck Hutchins, mortally wounding her. The Western movie's director, Joel Souza, was also injured by the stray bullet.

"There are many people culpable [for the incident], but Mr. Baldwin was the person holding the weapon, that but for him shooting it, she would not have died," Panish said.

Panish said Baldwin has a "significant portion of liability " for the shooting, "but there are others, and that's what this case is going to be about — assessing fair apportionment to whoever's responsible for this senseless tragedy."

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants "breached the most basic rules of firearm use on a film production," including, always treating a gun as it were loaded, keeping a gun unloaded unless it is necessary to load it for a scene, and always keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction, among others.


"Had Defendant Baldwin, the Producers, and the Rust Production Companies taken adequate precautions to ensure firearm safety on the set of Rust or if basic firearm safety rules had been followed on the set" then Hutchins "would be alive and well, hugging her husband and nine-year-old son," the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit alleges that Baldwin did not go to help Hutchins after she was shot.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Baldwin said in a tweet, "There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours."

Baldwin — who was producing and starring in the "Rust" film — has claimed that he never pulled the trigger of the gun that fired and resulted in the death of Hutchins, a married mother.

Family of Halyna Hutchins files wrongful death lawsuit against Alec Baldwin over deadly 'Rust' shooting
Halyna Hutchins, her husband Matthew Hutchins, and their son, Andros.Handout

"I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them," Baldwin said during an ABC News interview that aired in December.


The gun that was fired was supposed to be loaded with dummy rounds, but somehow live ammunition was loaded into the weapon, authorities have said.

Santa Fe investigators have been probing the fatal shooting and trying to determine how live rounds ended up in the weapon.

Authorities have said they have not ruled out criminal charges in connection to the shooting, though no charges have been filed yet.

Since the shooting, Baldwin and other "Rust" producers have been named as defendants in multiple lawsuits filed over the tragedy.

Panish said he expects damages in the case to be "substantial."


"A longtime marriage, a soulmate is lost and a boy to be raised without a mother at a young age is a tremendous loss," Panish said.

Hutchins' husband, Matthew Hutchins, is seeking "closure" over the death of his wife, Panish said during the press conference.

"I think Matt is grieving. He understands that a lawsuit is necessary to get answers. He wants answers. He wants closure," the lawyer said.