Hours after a charged Today appearance by her lawyers postulating that the October 21 fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins by Alec Baldwin may have been the result of “sabotage”, Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed is now pouring fuel on the still theoretical fire.
“Never in a million years did Hannah think that live rounds could have been in the ‘dummy’ Round box,” said the latest statement from the crew member at the center of the deepening police probe of what went so terribly wrong on the $7 million budgeted Western. “Who put those in there and why is the central question,” added the comments released in Gutierrez Reed’s name through the office of criminal defense attorney Jason Bowles.
“Hannah did everything in her power to ensure a safe set. She inspected the rounds that she loaded into the firearms that day,” the second such statement from the armorer in as many weeks went on to say. “No one could have anticipated or thought that someone would introduce live rounds into this set.” (read the full statement below)
Over three executed search warrants since the tragic shooting of Hutchins and the injuring of director Joel Souza last month, the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office have found “500 rounds of ammunition … a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what we are suspecting are live rounds,” according to Sheriff Adan Mendoza. The most recent search by detectives hauled in more weapons and ammunition – including at least one live .45 caliber round found in the Rust prop truck and its lock box.
In a previous statement late last week, Gutierrez Reed’s lawyers said that the armorer had “no idea where the live rounds came from.”
Early Wednesday morning from Las Vegas with fellow lawyer Robert Gorence sitting beside him, Bowles told a sometimes-incredulous Savannah Guthrie that “the person who put the live round in the box of dummy rounds had to have the purpose of sabotaging the set.”
While not naming names, the ex-Assistant U.S. Attorney implied pretty heavily on Today that “disgruntled” former camera crew members may have had something to do with that live round appearing where it shouldn’t have been. Hours before the killing of Hutchins, several members of that team resigned from Rust citing safety and financial reasons. On a media tour this morning, Bowles doubled down on Good Morning America: “Why would you do that other than to try to cause some incident on the set? Now, we’re not saying anybody had any intent there was going to be a tragedy — a homicide — but they wanted to do something to cause a safety incident on set. That’s what we believe happened.”
Lamenting that she was hired as a props assistants as well as armorer on Rust, Gutierrez Reed confirmed in her statement of October 28 that there were two other incidents of a weaponing mistakenly discharging on the set before October 21. A third occasion also seems to have occurred too.
In the cop spotlight along with Gutierrez Reed, First Assistant Director David Halls admitted to the Sheriff’s Office that he did not properly check the 1880s-era gun before declaring it a “cold gun” and handling it to star/producer Baldwin for the “quick draw” rehearsal that went so wrong. Like the armorer, Halls retained a New Mexico criminal defense attorney last week.
Halls was fired from a previous film because of gun safety lapses and was not rehired over personal misconduct complaints on a 2019 Blumhouse TV project.
No one has been arrested or charged over the Rust shooting, yet.
However, nearly two weeks after Hutchins died, the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office’s investigation continues. In that vein, First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies seemingly stands by her remark of October 27 that “no one has been ruled out” when it comes to possible charges
Clearly, with Hutchins’ family today hiring L.A.-based firm Panish Shea Boyle Ravipudi, which specializes in personal injury and wrongful death litigation, Gutierrez Reed and Halls are trying to get ahead of the eventual police report.
They are not the only ones.
After a disastrous Vermont roadside exchange with reporters on October 30 where he called Rust a “well-oiled” movie before the shooting, Baldwin on November 2 reposted a long Facebook tirade by Terese Magpale Davis in which the Rust costume designer exclaimed that claims of “unsafe, chaotic conditions” on the movie “are bullsh*t.”
Rust’s producers essentially shuttered the film on October 26 and the same day hired a high-profile law firm Jenner & Block to run “an investigation of the events.” Potentially facing a lawsuit themselves, the producers have also brought on board a crisis PR team, and have informed crew members that Jenner & Block attorneys will join them for interviews with OSHA.
Read the entire latest statement from Hannah Gutierrez Reed and her lawyers here:
Hannah Gutierrez Reed would like to add a few points to the continuing narrative on the tragic events surrounding the shooting on the Rust set. First, Hannah was incredibly safety conscious and took her job very seriously from the moment she started on October 4th. She did firearms training for the actors as well as Mr. Baldwin, she fought for more training days and she regularly emphasized to never point a firearm at a person. Never in a million years did Hannah think that live rounds could have been in the “dummy” Round box. Who put those in there and why is the central question. Hannah kept guns locked up, including throughout lunch on the day in question, and she instructed her department to watch the cart containing the guns when she was pulled away for her other duties or on a lunch break. 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. She did again right before handing the firearm to Mr. Halls, by spinning the cylinder and showing him all of the rounds and then handing him the firearm. No one could have anticipated or thought that someone would introduce live rounds into this set.
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