The family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, fatally shot on the New Mexico set of the movie “Rust,” announced a wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday against the producers of the movie, including star Alec Baldwin, who wielded the gun that killed her.
Brian Panish, a lawyer for Matthew Hutchins, the victim's husband of 16 years, and the couple's 9-year-old son, Andros Hutchins, said Baldwin and the film's producers had "committed major breaches of industry protocols" that "led to the senseless and tragic death of Halyna Hutchins."
"Alec Baldwin recklessly shot and killed Halyna Hutchins on the set," the lawsuit states. "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 ... with fatal consequences."
Panish said the family was going to seek unspecified monetary damage in the suit to be filed in Santa Fe. "We believe it is going to be substantial, based on the loss of that relationship," he said.
'Halyna was the love of my life':Matthew Hutchins makes statement ahead of wife's memorial
"This son has lost his mother. It is a young boy who will never have a mother. And a man who lost his wife, his soulmate," said Panish. "That goes on forever and ever.
"Matt is grieving. He understands that a lawsuit is needed to get answers," said Panish, who spoke at a news conference flanked by photos of Hutchins and her family. "He wants answers, he wants closure."
USA TODAY has reached out to Baldwin's lawyer for comment.
On Oct. 21, Baldwin, a producer and star of the Western film, was practicing a stunt on the set when a prop gun he was holding fired, killing Hutchins, 42, and injuring director Joel Souza.
According to documents released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office in October, Baldwin was sitting in a church pew and rehearsing a scene that involved drawing a revolver and pointing it at the camera. Hutchins and Souza were viewing the camera angle, Souza told detectives. Souza, who was shot in the shoulder, was standing behind Hutchins.
'Rust' investigation:As Alec Baldwin faces a lawsuit, all eyes are on the gun that killed Halyna Hutchins
Souza told investigators that three people would typically handle guns on the set. Firearms would first be checked by the film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, before being checked by assistant director Dave Halls, who would then give a firearm to an actor for his or her scene.
While there is no video of the film rehearsal, lawyers played a video re-creation of the shooting, which depicts a digital Hutchins being fatally shot and the same projectile exiting her body and hitting Souza's shoulder.
Panish showed a slide during the conference that stated Baldwin and "Rust" producers "disregarded at least 15 industry standards" before the tragic circumstances.
In the video presentation, the lawyers said safety standards call for using a rubber or similar prop gun to set up the shot, and there was no reason to use a real gun.
"Had (standards and guidelines) been followed, this never would have happened. This is so rare that someone would be shot lensing a scene," said Panish.
When asked by reporters who should be held responsible, Panish responded, "There are many people culpable. But Mr. Baldwin was the one holding the weapon."
In an interview with ABC News in December, Baldwin said he cocked the gun, "but did not pull the trigger." He said that he felt incredible sadness over the shooting, but not guilt.
'I didn't pull the trigger':Alec Baldwin gives first interview since fatal 'Rust' shooting
“Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but it’s not me,” Baldwin said in the interview.
Last month, nearly three months after the shooting, Baldwin turned his cellphone over to authorities in his home state of New York. They gathered information from the phone and provided it to Santa Fe County investigators, who had obtained a warrant for it.
At least three other lawsuits have been filed in the shooting, but the latest legal action is the first directly tied to one of the two people shot.
Halyna Hutchins' death:5 biggest mysteries still surrounding the 'Rust' movie-set shooting