Chief electrician Serge Svetnoy is the first member of the Rust crew to take legal action concerning the on-set shooting on October 21. A gun that was thought to be “cold,” fired by Alec Baldwin during rehearsals, actually contained a live round. The bullet killed director of photography Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza. In the lawsuit (obtained by the Los Angeles Times), Svetnoy claims the bullet nearly struck him as well. He “felt a strange and terrifying whoosh of what felt like pressurized air” as Baldwin fired the gun. Svetnoy was struck by “discharge materials from the blast,” the suit reads.
The lawsuit names the film’s producers, armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, first assistant director Dave Halls, prop master Sarah Zachry, and weapons provider Seth Kenney as defendants. Svetnoy claims that Baldwin, who is one of the film’s producers, shares responsibility for what happened on the Santa Fe set. The lawsuit says Baldwin was supposed to reach across his chest to draw the revolver and point it at the camera. “The scene did not call for Defendant Baldwin to shoot the Colt Revolver,” it reads.
The lawsuit details Svetnoy’s recollection of events, including that he noticed his hearing was “muffled,” right before realizing that Hutchins and Souza had been shot. Svetnoy “cradled her head and spoke to her, trying to keep her calm, alert and conscious,” the lawsuit states.
Hutchins’s husband has retained the law firm Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi but has yet to file suit. The incident is still under investigation by the Santa Fe County sheriff’s department.
Update, November 17: Script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, who made the 911 call after the fatal shooting, has also filed suit against Baldwin, Gutierrez-Reed, and others. According to People, Mitchell is claiming she was injured in the shooting and is suing for “assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and deliberate infliction of harm.”
“I relive the shooting and the sound of the explosion from the gun over and over again,” Mitchell said at a press conference. “I’m depressed. I don’t feel safe. I feel like, at any moment, anything can happen to me and to those that I care about standing close to me. I don’t have a sense of guardrails in my life to keep me safe. I am frightened of the future.”
Mitchell’s suit echoes Svetnoy’s claim that the script did not call for Baldwin to fire his weapon at all. Her attorney, Gloria Allred, said, “In our opinion, 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. His behavior and that of the producers on Rust was reckless.”