AP

‘Rust’ armorer attorneys blame producers for ‘unsafe’ set

Oct 29, 2021, 3:42 PM | Updated: 3:47 pm
A new trove of information revealed about the shooting on the 'Rust' movie set shows Alec Baldwin q...
FILE - This Oct. 23, 2021 photo, shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., where actor Alec Baldwin pulled the trigger on a prop gun while filming “Rust” and unwittingly killed a cinematographer and injured a director. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

NEW YORK (AP) — Attorneys for Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was in charge of weapons on the movie set where Alec Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, say she doesn’t know where the live rounds found there came from and blamed producers for unsafe working conditions.

Gutierrez Reed was the armorer on the set of “Rust.” The 24-year-old, who had worked on one previous feature film, hasn’t spoken publicly about the accident.

“Ultimately this set would never have been compromised if live ammo were not introduced,” said attorneys Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence in a statement.

“Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from. Hannah and the prop master gained control over the guns and she never witnessed anyone shoot live rounds with these guns and nor would she permit that.”

During a news conference Wednesday, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said there was “some complacency” in how weapons were handled on the set of “Rust.”

Investigators initially found 500 rounds of ammunition — a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what appeared to be live rounds. Industry experts have said live rounds should never be on set.

Additional ammunition, a dozen revolvers and a rifle were more recently seized in the search of a white truck used for storing props including firearms, according to an inventory list filed Friday in court.

Investigators with the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office declined to provide further information about the newly seized weapons and ammunition. It was unclear whether live rounds were encountered.

Attorneys for Gutierrez Reed said she is “devastated and completely beside herself” over the death of Hutchins. They argued that producers on the film were cutting corners that sacrificed safety.

“Hannah was hired on two positions on this film, which made it extremely difficult to focus on her job as an armorer,” they said. “She fought for training, days to maintain weapons, and proper time to prepare for gunfire but ultimately was overruled by production and her department. The whole production set became unsafe due to various factors, including lack of safety meetings. This was not the fault of Hannah.”

Veteran prop master Neal W. Zoromski earlier told The Los Angeles Times that he declined an offer to work on “Rust” because producers insisted that one person could serve as both assistant prop master and armorer. Zoromski said those are “two really big jobs” that couldn’t be combined. He called the production “an accident waiting to happen.”

A spokesperson for the producers of “Rust” didn’t immediately respond to emails Friday. They have previously said that they are cooperating with the police investigation.

Others have raised questions about the production. The film’s gaffer, Serge Svetnoy, earlier faulted the movie’s producers for “negligence.”
“To save a dime sometimes, you hire people who are not fully qualified for the complicated and dangerous job,” Svetnoy said in a Facebook post.

On the morning of the shooting, Gutierrez Reed told detectives that she checked the dummy bullets — bullets that appear real, save for a small hole in the side of the casing that identifies them as inoperable — to ensure none were “hot,” according to a search warrant affidavit made public Wednesday.

When the crew broke for lunch, the guns used for filming were locked in a safe inside the props storage truck, Gutierrez Reed said. The ammunition, however, was left unsecured on a cart. There was additional ammo inside the prop truck.

After lunch, the film’s prop master, Sarah Zachry, removed the guns from the safe and handed them to Gutierrez Reed — Gutierrez Reed told investigators.

According to a search warrant affidavit released last Friday, Gutierrez Reed set three guns on a cart outside the church, and assistant director Dave Halls took one from the cart and handed it to Baldwin. The document released Wednesday said the armorer sometimes handed the gun to Baldwin, and sometimes to Halls.

Halls told investigators that he failed to fully check the revolver. Normally, he told detectives, he would examine the barrel for obstructions and have Gutierrez Reed open the hatch and spin the drum where the bullets go, confirming none of the rounds is live.

This time, he reported, he could only remember seeing three of the rounds, and he didn’t remember if the armorer had spun the drum. He then yelled out “cold gun” to indicate that it was safe to use.

Messages left with Halls haven’t been returned.

All contents © copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team. here.

Today’s Top Stories

AP

a man is pictured playing call of duty...
The Associated Press

FTC sues to block Microsoft-Activision Blizzard $69B merger

The FTC’s complaint points to Microsoft’s previous game acquisitions where Microsoft made some game titles exclusive despite assuring it wouldn't.
1 day ago
Respect for Marriage Act...
MARY CLARE JALONICK Associated Press

Bill protecting same-sex, interracial unions passes House

President Joe Biden is expected to promptly sign the measure, which requires all states to recognize same-sex marriages, a relief for many.
1 day ago
a small boy recieves a COVID-19 vaccine in China...
JOE McDONALD Associated Press

China eases anti-COVID measures following protests

Experts warn, however, that restrictions can’t be lifted completely until at least mid-2023 because millions of elderly people still must be vaccinated.
2 days ago
A memorial is pictured near the scene of the Colorado shooting at Club Q...
COLLEEN SLEVIN Associated Press

Colorado gay club shooting suspect charged with hate crimes

Investigators say Anderson Lee Aldrich entered Club Q, a sanctuary for the LGBTQ community in this mostly conservative city, just before midnight on Nov. 19.
3 days ago
DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 25: A giant flag of IR Iran on the pitch prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2...
ALI ABDUL-HASSAN and ABBY SEWELL Associated Press

US-Iran match reflects a regional rivalry for many Arab fans

The U.S. team’s must-win World Cup match against Iran will be closely watched across the Middle East, where the two nations have been engaged in a cold war for over four decades and where many blame one or both for the region’s woes.
10 days ago
Irene Cara in 'Fame' (Photo courtesy of Mgm/Kobal, Shutterstock)...
MARK KENNEDY, AP Entertainment Writer

‘Fame’ and ‘Flashdance’ singer-actor Irene Cara dies at 63

singer-actress Irene Cara, who starred and sang the title cut from the 1980 hit movie “Fame” and then belted out the era-defining hit “Flashdance ... What a Feeling” from 1983's “Flashdance,” has died. She was 63.
12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
‘Rust’ armorer attorneys blame producers for ‘unsafe’ set