The head of lighting on the film "Rust" filed a lawsuit Wednesday over Alec Baldwin's fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the Western, alleging negligence that caused him "severe emotional distress" that will haunt him forever.
Serge Svetnoy said in the suit that the bullet that killed his close friend Hutchins, narrowly missed him, and he held her head as she died.
The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court names nearly two dozen defendants associated with the film including Baldwin, who was both star and a producer; David Halls, the assistant director who handed Baldwin the gun; and Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was in charge of weapons on the set.
It is the first known lawsuit of what could be many stemming from the Oct. 21 shooting, which also injured "Rust" director Joel Souza.
It was the ninth film that Svetnoy and Hutchins had worked on together, and he had taken the job at low pay because she asked him to.
He said he had seen guns sitting unattended in the dirt a few days earlier in the shoot, and had warned the people responsible about them.
"What happened next will haunt Plaintiff forever," the suit says. "He felt a strange and terrifying whoosh of what felt like pressurized air from his right. He felt what he believed was gunpowder and other residual materials directly strike the right side of his face."
The lawsuit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages to be determined later. It was filed in Los Angeles County because the plaintiff and most of the defendants are based there.
Gutierrez Reed's lawyer Jason Bowles said in a statement Wednesday that "we are convinced this was sabotage and Hannah is being framed. We believe that the scene was tampered with as well before the police arrived."
Bowles said his client has provided authorities with a full interview and continues to assist them. The statement did not address the lawsuit.
Santa Fe-area District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said investigators have encountered no proof of sabotage. Her comments, first made on "Good Morning America," were confirmed Wednesday by agency spokeswoman Sascha Guinn Anderson.
Carmack-Altwies says that investigators know who loaded the gun, though it remains unclear how the deadly round of ammunition got on the movie set. The district attorney said she is concerned that there were so many levels of safety failures.
The Los Angeles lawsuit alleges that the scene did not call for Baldwin to fire the gun at all, only to point it.
Hollywood professionals have been baffled by the circumstances of the movie-set shooting. It already has led to other production crews stepping up safety measures.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.