'Rust' armorer says barely checked gun before fatal shooting: police

Asia's Tech News Daily

'Rust' armorer says barely checked gun before fatal shooting: police
© Patrick T. FALLON No charges have been levelled over the fatal shooting on the set of ‘Rust’ though investigators have refused to rule them out

The woman in charge of the gun fatally fired by Alec Baldwin on the set of “Rust” told police she “didn’t really check it too much” immediately before the tragedy.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, armorer on the low-budget Western, spoke to investigators as they probed how live rounds ended up on the New Mexico film set last month, leading to the death of Halyna Hutchins.

Cinematographer Hutchins was shot and killed as Baldwin rehearsed a scene in which he fires a gun at the camera.

According to an affidavit released Tuesday, Gutierrez-Reed told police she had loaded the Colt .45 with five dummy rounds before a lunch break.

After lunch, the weapon was retrieved from a safe, and Gutierrez-Reed added a final round before handing it to another crew member. Moments later, she heard a gun shot from inside the set.

Gutierrez-Reed said she “didn’t really check it too much” because the weapon had been locked up at lunch.

“We had the gun the whole time before that, and nothing happened, and I wasn’t in there, and they weren’t even supposed to be pulling the hammer back,” she added.

Police seized more than 500 rounds of ammunition from the set, which they believed to be a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and some suspected live ammunition.

On Tuesday, investigators shared new information about the possible origin of live rounds.

Ammunition for the production came from multiple sources, including Seth Kenney, an Arizona weapon rental supplier.

Kenney told investigators he may have passed “reloaded ammunition” to the “Rust” set which matched the logo on a cartridge suspected to have contained the live round that killed Halyna.

“Reloaded ammunition” refers to rounds that are assembled from component parts, not manufactured as complete live rounds.

Gutierrez-Reed’s father Thell Reed, a veteran armorer, said he had provided live ammo to Kenney on a previous film they worked on together that was “not factory made,” and which was never returned.

Prosecutors have refused to rule out criminal charges against any person involved with “Rust,” including Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed.

The pair are also among those named in at least two civil lawsuits filed by other crew members. 

Gutierrez-Reed has said she has “no idea” why live rounds were present, and her lawyers suggested an act of “sabotage” by disgruntled crew members may have caused the tragic shooting.

Reports have emerged of disquiet among staff over allegedly lax safety procedures, and Santa Fe Sheriff Adan Mendoza has spoken of “complacency” on the New Mexico set.

But Baldwin has called the tragedy a “one in a trillion episode” and insisted “Rust” had a “well-oiled crew.”

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