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(Reuters) — A crew member who witnessed the fatal shooting on the “Rust” movie set last month filed a negligence lawsuit Wednesday against actor Alec Baldwin and the film’s producers.
Serge Svetnoy, the chief electrician on the set in Santa Fe, New Mexico, accused the producers and others of failing to implement safety standards and of allowing "a revolver loaded with live ammunition to be pointed at living persons on the Rust set," according to the civil lawsuit filed in Los Angeles.
Mr. Svetnoy's lawsuit is thought to be the first filed in the accidental fatal shooting by Mr. Baldwin in October. Authorities in Santa Fe are still investigating, and no criminal charges have been brought against anyone.
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on Oct. 21, and director Joel Souza was wounded when a gun Mr. Baldwin had been told was safe fired off a live bullet, investigators have said. Other live rounds have also been found on the set.
“Filmmaking is a wonderful art, but no one should ever die for other people to be entertained,” Mr. Svetnoy's attorney, Gary Dordick, told a news conference.
“They should never, never have had live rounds on this set,” Mr. Dordick added.
Mr. Svetnoy was one of a handful of people on the set when the fatal shooting occurred. He said in the lawsuit that he held Ms. Hutchins in his arms as she bled from being shot in the chest, adding that it would “haunt him forever.”
The lawsuit also names armorer Hannah Gutierrez, who was in charge of weapons, and assistant director Dave Halls, who told investigators it was he who handed Mr. Baldwin the gun during a rehearsal.
Representatives for Mr. Baldwin, who was also one of the producers, Mr. Halls, Ms. Gutierrez and the other producers did not immediately return requests for comment on Wednesday. The producers have previously said they are conducting their own internal investigation and were not made aware of any complaints concerning weapons safety on the set before the incident.
Mr. Dordick said Mr. Svetnoy, who is seeking unspecified damages, was not looking to make money from the lawsuit but to ensure better working and safety conditions on movie sets going forward.
“Mr. Svetnoy is not motivated by money. ... This lawsuit is to make these kind of unsafe conditions that happen too much on movie sets stop now,” Mr. Dordick said.
The production company on whose New Mexico filming site cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed and the movie’s director Joel Souza wounded, had $6 million in liability coverage from a Chubb Ltd. unit, according to insurance documents.