The chief electrician on the set of “Rust” has called out the film’s armorer and producers in a lengthy social media post describing the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Serge Svetnoy, the gaffer on the New Mexico set, said he’d become friends with Hutchins, 42, while working closely with her on multiple films. He was standing “shoulder-to-shoulder” with her when actor Alec Baldwin fired the prop gun that killed her and injured director Joel Souza on Thursday, he said.
“I was holding her in my arms while she was dying. Her blood was on my hands,” Svetnoy recalled in a Facebook post on Sunday.
“I want to tell my opinion on why this has happened. I think I have the right to do it,” he continued. “It’s the fault of negligence and unprofessionalism.”
The gun used in the shooting was set up by Hannah Gutierrez, the film’s armorer, and handed to Baldwin by Dave Halls, the assistant director, according to a police affidavit.
Svetnoy did not mention any names in his post, but he made it clear he held the person in charge of the weapons on the movie set responsible.
“The negligence from the person who was supposed to check the weapon on the site did not do this; the person who had to announce that the loaded gun was on the site did not do this; the person who should have checked this weapon before bringing it to the set did not do it,” he wrote.
Svetnoy called on producers to put safety before budget.
“To save a dime sometimes, you hire people who are not fully qualified for the complicated and dangerous job, and you risk the lives of the other people who are close and your lives as well,” he wrote.
He said he would not wish it upon anyone to go through what he, Hutchins’ husband, Matt, son Andros and Baldwin had gone through.
Baldwin, who was “handed a gun on set,” now “has to live with the thought that he took the life of the human because of unprofessional people,” Svetnoy wrote. “Dear producers, by hiring professionals, you are buying peace of mind for yourself and the people around you. It is true that the professionals can cost a little more and sometimes can be a little bit more demanding, but it is worth it.”
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the incident and has not addressed the allegations made by Svetnoy in his post. Investigators have not yet clarified how a projectile was discharged from a prop gun, and no charges have been filed.
Baldwin and the “Rust” crew were on set at Bonanza Creek Ranch, a New Mexico movie production spot, when the shooting occurred. Hours before it took place, a half-dozen members of the camera crew had walked off set to protest an array of poor working conditions, the Los Angeles Times reported. This included at least one complaint about gun safety on set, according to the Times.
Gutierrez, who also goes by Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, recently finished filming her first movie as head armorer. Two production sources from that film, “The Old Way,” starring Nicolas Cage, told The Daily Beast there were concerns raised about gun safety on that production, too.
Gutierrez did not immediately respond to a request for comment.