Family of woman shot on Rust set sues actor Alec Baldwin for wrongful death

Baldwin (left) was holding a Colt gun during a Rust rehearsal when it discharged a live round, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (right). PHOTOS: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The family of a woman shot by Alec Baldwin on the set of the movie Rust sued the US actor on Tuesday (Feb 15), claiming "substantial" damages for her wrongful death.

Baldwin was holding a Colt gun during a rehearsal for the Western in New Mexico in October when it discharged a live round, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

At a press conference on Tuesday, lawyer Brian Panish alleged the "reckless conduct and cost-cutting measures" of Baldwin and the other Rust producers had led to Hutchins' death.

The attorney representing Hutchins' husband Matthew and son Andros also presented a list of "at least 15 industry standards" he said the producers had ignored on set.

These included failure to use a prop gun rather than a live weapon, a lack of individuals qualified to handle weapons on set at the time of the shooting, and lack of protective equipment for crew.

Panish also alleged that Baldwin had "refused" training on cross-drawing the gun. He presented a 3D animated reconstruction of the shooting.

The lawsuit has been filed in New Mexico, where the incident took place.

Asked what level of compensation the family would seek, Panish said: "We believe it is going to be substantial."

The family's lawsuit is the latest in a flurry of civil proceedings over the fatal shooting.

Lawyer Brian Panish speaks to the media in Los Angeles, California, next to a picture of dead Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. PHOTO: REUTERS

In November, the low-budget movie's chief lighting technician Serge Svetnoy sued Baldwin for negligence.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the set's armorer in charge of weapons, last month sued the film's ammunition supplier, accusing him of leaving real bullets among the dummy cartridges.

A criminal investigation is ongoing.

Investigators have not filed criminal charges over the tragedy, but have refused to rule them out against anyone involved, including Baldwin.

Baldwin said in December he had been told the gun contained no live ammunition, and had been instructed by Hutchins to point the gun in her direction as she prepared to film the scene.

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