Matthew Hutchins, the husband of the cinematographer who was killed on the set of Rust, reportedly hired a law firm specializing in wrongful death lawsuits. As Sante Fe authorities continue the investigation into the incident that killed his wife, Halyna Hutchins, Matthew is presumably looking for advice on how to proceed.
Throughout what appeared to multiple cases of workplace misconduct and safety violations, the set of Rust was marred with controversy. It all led up to the event where actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun loaded with live rounds at Halyna Hutchins, hitting her in the torso and killing her, as well as injuring the director, Joel Souza.
The law firm, Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi, did not reveal if Matthew Hutchins hired them with plans to sue or just for consultation, but a source close to the Hutchins’ family told TMZ that they believe he intends to file a lawsuit.
Who Will Matthew Hutchins Sue?
According to Sante Fe authorities in New Mexico, only two known crew members touched the gun before Alec: head armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed and Assistant Director Dave Halls.
Halyna Hutchins and Alec Baldwin were reportedly friends before the incident, and Matthew Hutchins has spoken out about how Alec has been cooperative with authorities and offering his support the best he can. The two had breakfast together just days after the shooting, along with the Hutchins’ 9-year-old son, Andros.
David Halls, the assistant director, was fired from the project following the shooting, but Rust is undoubtedly a film that will never go back into production. Alec Baldwin has said himself that he can’t imagine ever being back on that set.
Halls had failed to check the firearm for live rounds before handing the prop gun to Alec, who also neglected to confirm that the barrel was empty.
Another person involved is head armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was in charge of corralling the prop guns on set making sure that live ammunition was not present. Matthew Hutchins could also sue Rust Movie Productions, the studio in charge of making the film.
Presumably, Matthew Hutchins will not make any moves to single out a sole responsible party until the investigation is concluded.
Could Someone Go to Jail?
That all depends on what the investigation finds. No charges have been made as of Thursday, Nov. 4, but if someone is found personally responsible for the death of Halyna Hutchins, then they will be arrested and charged in court, where they could be sentenced for jail time for a myriad of potential charges.
According to TMZ, Rust Movie Productions’ insurance policy covers payouts for deaths up to $6 million, but those funds will be shared with director Joel Souza, who was also grazed by a bullet but survived. Souza could also file a lawsuit for the incident.
Hutchins may sue for criminal negligence or seek damages due to emotional distress, but he will most likely wait to see what authorities are able to uncover at the end of their investigation.
When Will the Santa Fe Police Department Know More?
There is no deadline for conclusion of the investigation. The latest information from the Sante Fe Police Department is that live ammunition was found both on set, where it shouldn’t have been, and the gun Alec Baldwin fired was loaded with a lead projectile.
It is not clear how the gun, which was said to be left unattended for two hours before it was handed to Alec, came to become loaded, or who was responsible. Detectives are reportedly still interviewing crew members who were on set the day of the shooting.
“It’s probably weeks, if not months, of follow-up investigation that we’re going to need to get to the point of charging,” said Santa Fe County district attorney, Mary Carmack-Altwies. “If the facts and evidence and law support charges, then I will initiate prosecution at that time.”