‘Rust’ Armorer Claims She Has “No Idea Where The Live Rounds Came From” That Killed
Having lawyered up with a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and been called out in public by Santa Fe’s Sheriff, the armorer on the film that saw cinematographer Halyna Hutchins fatally shot by Alec Baldwin has spoken out for the first time.
Disputing tales of after-hours target practice, Hannah, Gutierrez also confirmed two previous weapons discharges on the troubled set of Rust.
“Safety is Hannah’s number on priority on set,” said attorneys Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence in a statement released for their client Gutierrez late tonight about Rust “Ultimately this set would never have been compromised if live ammo were not introduced. Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from.”
“Hannah still, to this day, has never had an accidental discharge,’ her lawyers claim in their statement tonight. Pulling back the veil on Rust, which saw several members of the camera crew resign before the shooting last week due to safety and financial concerns, Gutierrez’s lawyers double down on the unsafe set. “The first one on this set was the prop master and the second one was a stunt man after Hannah informed him his gun was hot with blanks”
No timeline is given by Gutierrez’s attorneys on when these discharges happened, but we know a lot about when and how the shooting of Hutchins and director Joel Souza
Minutes before Hutchins was shot, Baldwin was told by First Assistant Director that the 1880s-set long Colt .45 revolver was a “cold gun” when the weapon was handed to the Rust star/producer on the afternoon of October 21. However, the fatal result of the “quick draw” rehearsal, that also saw Souza wounded, appears to have come from at least “one live round,” as Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza told the media on October 27, while detailing the ongoing police investigation.
“We identified two other people that handled and or inspected the loaded prior to Baldwin firing the weapon,” Sheriff Mendoza noted on Wednesday. “These two individuals are armorer Hannah Reed-Gutierrez and Assistant Director David Halls. All three individuals have been cooperative in the investigation and have provided statements.”
While Halls admitted in a October 27 filed affidavit from the police that he didn’t properly check the gun in question that day, Gutierrez insists she had “checked the ‘dummies’ and made sure they were not ‘hot” rounds’” in the gun.
Under scrutiny and with First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies telling the world “all options are on the table – no one has been ruled out,” both Halls , who had been fired from at least one previous film for a weapon going off unexpectedly, and Gutierrez retained New Mexico criminal defense attorneys.
In the expectation of such possible future legal moves by Santa Fe’s top prosecutor as the police probe continues, Gutierrez’s legal team have begun planting their version of her narrative of events, circumstances, and responsibilities on Rust.
“Hannah was hired on two positions on this film, which made it extremely difficult to focus on her job as an armorer,” Bowles and Gorence state, not revealing what the other gig was. “She fought for training, days to maintain weapons and proper time to prepare for gunfire but ultimately was overruled by production and her department.”
First reported by MSNBC’s Yasmin Vossoughian on Thursday night, the statement from the Albuquerque attorneys on behalf of the self-declared “falsely portrayed” Gutierrez moves to put the blame of the tragedy on the low-budget Western on Rust’s producers. “The whole production set became unsafe due to various factors, including lack of safety meetings,” the statement adds “Rhnot [sic] the fault of Hannah.”
“Along with expressing Gutierrez’s “deepest and most sincere condolences to the family and friend of Halyna,” the sometimes awkwardly worded statement seeks to partially pours cold water on the rumor that weapons intended for Rust were being used for target practice and the likes afterhours.
“Hannah and the prop master gained control over the guns and she never witnessed anyone shoot live rounds with these guns nor would she permit that,” the tactical statement exclaims. “They were locked up every night and at lunch and there’s no way a single one of them was unaccounted for or being shot by crew members.”
Rust was the second feature that Gutierrez worked on as an armorer.
Previously, the daughter of seasoned Tinseltown armorer Thell Reed served in the role on the Nicolas Cage film The Old Way. Crew members on that as yet unreleased Brett Donowho directed gunslinger movie have spoken to several media outlets about Gutierrez ignoring or disregarding gun safety protocols.
Having told Deadline earlier this week that more search warrants are likely come, the Santa Fe Sheriff’s office has also said that their investigation of what occurred on Rust will go on “a while.”
Leaning into that, Gutierrez’s attorneys say they “will have more to say soon. Hannah and her legal team will address more of these rumors and the whole incident in an upcoming statement next week,”