‘Rust' Investigators Reveal New Details About Source of Live Rounds

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The weapons expert who supplied firearms for use on the movie “Rust” told investigators he believed he knew how live rounds got mixed in with dummy rounds, according to an affidavit released on Tuesday.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office has been investigating the cause of the shooting on the set of the film on Oct. 21, in which actor Alec Baldwin fired a shot that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded the film’s director, Joel Souza. Detectives have focused on the question of how live rounds — which ordinarily would be forbidden anywhere near a movie set — came to be mixed with the dummy rounds.

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    Seth Kenney, the weapons expert who supplied the guns for the film, told investigators on Oct. 29 that he had received “reloaded ammunition” from a friend that had the same logo as the dummy rounds and blanks that he typically supplies to films.

    “Seth described how a couple years back, he received ‘reloaded ammunition’ from a friend,'” the investigators wrote in the search warrant affidavit. “Seth described the ammunition stuck out to him due to the suspected live round to have (sic) a cartridge with the Starline Brass logo on it… He described how the company only sells components of ammunition, and not live ammunition, and therefore it had to be a reloaded round.”

    Reloading refers to making a new round with a case that has already been fired.

    The search warrant affidavit also includes new details from interviews with Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the 24-year-old armorer on the film, as well as her father, veteran film armorer Thell Reed.

    Gutierrez Reed described loading the revolver with five dummy rounds before lunch on Oct. 21. She said the sixth round would not fit in the gun, so after lunch she cleaned it out and then was able to load it. She said she “didn’t really check it too much” before loading the final bullet because the gun had been locked up during lunch.

    In previous affidavits, investigators have revealed that Dave Halls, the first assistant director, acknowledged that he did not thoroughly check the revolver before handing it to Baldwin.

    Gutierrez Reed said she was outside the church when she heard the gunshot, and then heard people calling for a medic.

    “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 told investigators.

    Gutierrez Reed was “very emotional” when deputies arrived on the scene, according to an incident report released Tuesday. A deputy advised she was not under arrest, had her sit in a squad car, and asked for medical personnel to attend to her, according to the report.

    Her father, Thell Reed, provided a statement to investigators on Nov. 15, and gave a follow-up interview on Nov. 17. He offered his own theory on the origin of the live rounds. In his telling, he and Kenney worked together on another project in August or September, where they provided live fire training for actors on a firing range. Kenney asked Reed to bring some live rounds in case they ran out of ammunition.

    Reed brought a can that included live ammo, and after the training, Kenney took the rounds home, according to the affidavit. Reed said he made several attempts to get the ammunition back from Kenney, but that Kenney told him to “write it off.” The can included .45-caliber rounds, and Reed suggested they might match the rounds found on the set of “Rust.”

    Investigators obtained a warrant to search Kenney’s company, PDQ Arm & Prop, LLC, at its location at a strip mall in Albuquerque. The warrant authorizes investigators to seize documentation and any ammunition with the Starline Brass logo.

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