Los Angeles: US actor Alec Baldwin “chose to play Russian roulette” with safety in the minutes leading up to the fatal movie set shooting of a cinematographer, a new lawsuit alleged Wednesday.
The suit is the second to be filed in a week over the killing of Halyna Hutchins during rehearsals for low-budget Western “Rust” in New Mexico last month.
Script supervisor Mamie Mitchell - who made an emotional 911 call moments after the accident - is accusing Baldwin and his fellow producers of assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and deliberate infliction of harm.
“The events that led to the shooting by Mr. Baldwin of a loaded gun do not constitute simple negligence,” Mitchell’s attorney Gloria Allred told reporters in Los Angeles.
“Instead, in our opinion, Mr. Baldwin chose to play Russian roulette when he fired a gun without checking and without having the armorer do so in his presence.
“His behaviour and that of the producers on ‘Rust’ was reckless.”
Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director Dave Halls are also named in the suit.
Cinematographer Hutchins, 42, was shot and killed as Baldwin rehearsed a scene in which he fires a gun at the camera.
The Emmy-winner was handed the firearm by Halls, who declared it “cold” - industry lingo for an inert weapon. Halls later told investigators he had not fully checked it.
The live bullet passed through Hutchins and hit director Joel Souza in the shoulder.
“Mr. Baldwin, and industry veterans knew that the gun in question should never have been given to him by the assistant director. And then he could not rely upon any statement by the assistant director as to whether or not the gun was safe to use,” said Allred.
Industry practice is for the armorer to demonstrate the gun is safe and for that person to hand it directly to the actor, she said.
“Mr. Baldwin knew that this was the norm and that it was not followed. And he did not check the gun himself.”
Last week chief lighting technician Serge Svetnoy sued Baldwin and others alleging negligence.
Experts say a rash of civil legal action is expected in connection with the tragedy.
Adan Mendoza, sheriff of Santa Fe County, where the incident happened, has spoken of “complacency” on the set.
Mendoza said previously his officers seized more than 500 rounds of ammunition from the set, which they believed to be a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and some suspected live ammunition.
District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies has previously refused to rule out criminal charges over the incident, which has sparked calls for the banning of functional weapons on Hollywood sets.