Rust Armorer's Lawyers Say She Suspects Sabotage

Live round may have been placed in box of dummy ammunition, attorneys say
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2021 6:46 AM CDT
Rust Armorer's Lawyers: Whole Production Set Was 'Unsafe'
A rusted chain hangs on the fence at the entrance to the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set in Santa Fe, NM, on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

Update: Lawyers for Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed say she believes the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins may have been the result of sabotage, NBC reports. Attorney Jason Bowles said Wednesday that somebody may have deliberately placed a live round in a box of dummy ammunition. "Who put those in there and why is the central question," Gutierrez-Reed said in a statement issued via Bowles, per the AP. "Hannah did everything in her power to ensure a safe set. She inspected the rounds that she loaded into the firearms that day. She always inspected the rounds." Our original story from Oct. 29 follows:

The young armorer on the set of Rust, where Alec Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza with a suspected live round, has "no idea" where the live ammunition came from. Hannah Gutierrez-Reed's number one priority was safety and she is "devastated and completely beside herself over the events that have transpired," her lawyers said in a Thursday statement, per NBC News. "Ultimately this set would never have been compromised if live ammo were not introduced," it continues.

Authorities say the 24-year-old lead armorer—who grew up on film sets as the daughter of veteran weapons expert Thell Reed—placed the gun on a cart outside a church where Baldwin was rehearsing, and assistant director David Halls handed it to the actor, indicating it was "cold" or safe. Halls allegedly told investigators that he saw three rounds in the gun but did not spin the drum. Following the shooting, the gun was reportedly found to contain dummy bullet casings and an empty casing from a suspected live round. Authorities recovered the lead projectile that killed Hutchins from Souza's shoulder.

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Gutierrez-Reed, who was serving as lead armorer on a film set for only the second time, "was hired on two positions on this film, which made it extremely difficult to focus on her job as an armorer," says the statement. "She fought for training ... and proper time to prepare for gunfire but ultimately was overruled by production and her department." Gutierrez-Reed had just wrapped up The Old Way, a film starring Nicolas Cage, where she served as lead armorer for the first time. Stu Brumbaugh, who worked as key grip on the set, told the Wrap that Cage at one point walked off set after screaming at Gutierrez-Reed, who had allegedly fired a gun without notifying nearby crew members for the second time in three days. Brumbaugh said he recommended she be fired, calling her a "rookie," per Newsweek. However, a producer on the film said they had "no such recollection of this event." (More Alec Baldwin stories.)

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