'Rust' Medic Sues, Claims She Was Traumatized

By Jason Hall

February 8, 2022

US actor Baldwin fires prop gun on movie set, killing cinematographer, injuring director
Photo: Getty Images

The medic who responded to the accidental fatal shooting on the set of the film Rust last October has filed a lawsuit against several fellow crew members and producers for negligence in connection to the incident.

Cherlyn Schaefer claims she experienced "tremendous shock, trauma and severe emotional distress" in connection to her emergency efforts to attempt to save cinematographer Halyna Hutchins' life, according to a complaint filed on Monday (February 7) in New Mexico obtained by Rolling Stone.

Hutchins was struck by a bullet from a .45 Colt revolver being held by actor Alec Baldwin, who has stated that the firearm unexpectedly discharged a live bullet when he released the hammer during filming.

Schaefer's lawsuit specifically lists rookie armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, assistant director Dave Halls, prop master Sarah Zachry and "armorer mentor" Seth Kenney, among others as defendants, but repeatedly identifies Baldwin as a "non-party."

“Cherlyn Schaefer fought desperately to save Halyna Hutchins’ life, putting pressure on her wounds, giving her oxygen, (and) checking her vitals” until a helicopter arrived to rush Hutchins to a hospital, the lawsuit states via Rolling Stone.

Schaefer is the fourth Rust crew member to file a lawsuit in connection to the shooting, with Gutierrez-Reed, gaffer Serge Svetnoy and script supervisor Mamie Mitchell having all previously taken legal action.

Svetnoy and Mitchell had included Baldwin as a defendant in their lawsuits while Gutierrez-Reed identifies Kenney and his prop company in her lawsuit.

Last month, Baldwin turned his phone over to police in connection to an ongoing investigation into the accidental shooting.

A spokesperson for the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office confirmed to CNN that Baldwin gave his phone to law enforcement officials in Suffolk County, New York -- where he resides -- who have assisted New Mexico -- where the shooting took place -- in locating the device.

"They will gather information off the phone and provide the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office with the evidence gathered," said Santa Fe County Sheriff spokesperson Juan Rios via CNN. "The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office does not yet have physical possession of the data to be retrieved off the Baldwin phone," Rios added, but noted "this is in process."

In a post shared on his verified Instagram account on January 9, Baldwin addressed the issue of his cell phone in relation to the investigation.

“Any suggestion that I am not complying with requests or orders or demands or search warrants about my phone" is "a lie," Baldwin said in the video while sitting behind the wheel of his vehicle.

During an exclusive interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that aired on December 2, Baldwin said director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, 42, who was killed in the accidental shooting, was directing his moves leading up to the weapon being fired and said he "didn't pull the trigger," but cocked it and the firearm unexpectedly discharged a live bullet when he released the hammer.

"She's guiding me through how she wants me to hold the gun for this angle," Baldwin said via ABC News. "I'm holding the gun where she told me to hold it, which ended up being aimed right below her armpit."
"So, I take the gun and I start to cock the gun. I'm not going to pull the trigger," Baldwin continued. "And I cock the gun, I go, 'Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?' And then I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun goes off. I let go of the hammer of the gun – the gun goes off."
"So you never pulled the trigger?" Stephanopoulos asked.
"No, no, no, no, no," Baldwin said. "I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them. Never. Never. That was the training that I had."

In November, the New York Times reported the gun involved in the shooting was left unattended for two hours prior to accident taking place.

Jason Bowles, an attorney representing Gutierrez-Reed, told the Times the gun was left on a tray for about two hours after Gutierrez-Reed loaded it with six dummy rounds, who took the ammunition from a box labeled "dummies," which are rounds that contain no gunpowder and are used to resemble bullets during filming.

Gutierrez-Reed's other attorney, Robert Gorence, said the armorer loaded three firearms set to be used later during the filming session, including the .45 Long Colt used by Baldwin, and left the guns encased in socks to prevent anyone who happened to pass by from handling them before going on a lunch break and leaving the weapons unattended.

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