Actor Alec Baldwin is at the center of a lawsuit filed Wednesday that charges him with recklessness while operating a prop gun on a New Mexico film set, an incident that resulted in one fatality and a second person being injured.
“Mr. Baldwin chose to play Russian roulette when he fired a gun without checking it, and without having the armorer do so in his presence,” attorney Gloria Allred said at a news conference. Allred is representing script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, who was standing next to shooting victim Halyna Hutchins, the film’s cinematographer who lost her life due to the gunshot.
Mitchell’s suit says she was within four feet of Baldwin when fired the gun inside a small church on October 21 during shooting of the film “Rust.”
The suit alleges that Baldwin had no reason to fire the weapon, as doing so was not called for in the scene they were filming, which involved three close-up shots – one on Baldwin’s eyes, one on his “blood-stained” shoulder, and one on his torso as he unholstered the gun.
“There was nothing in the script about the gun being discharged by DEFENDANT BALDWIN or by any other person,” the lawsuit says.
Mitchell’s suit alleges she suffered “serious physical trauma and shock and injury to her nervous system.” No specified monetary amount is specified in the suit, but she is seeking both punitive damages and compensation.
Filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, the suit does not solely name Baldwin, the movie’s star and producer. Assistant Director David Halls, who handed Baldwin the gun, and the production’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed are also listed as defendants.
The suit alleges that Gutierrez Reed left guns and ammunition unattended during a lunch break, a violation of protocol, and that she was inexperienced for her role on-set.
Gutierrez Reed has told police she is unaware how a live round came to be loaded in the prop gun, and her lawyer Jason Bowles has said she is being framed.
“We are convinced this was sabotage and Hannah is being framed. We believe that the scene was tampered with as well before the police arrived,” Bowles said in a statement last week.
So far, authorities have found no evidence of sabotage, according to the Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office.