‘Rust’ armorer files suit blaming prop and ammo supplier for fatal shooting
The armorer on the ill-fated movie “Rust” is suing a prop supplier, claiming it sold live and dummy ammunition together leading to the on-set shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed claims in a fiery 24-page lawsuit filed Wednesday that Seth Kenney, who owns PDQ Media Arm & Prop, made “false representations” and caused “live rounds to be introduced on the New Mexico movie set.”
The suit alleges another prop assistant brought in a new box of .45-caliber Long Colt rounds from Kenney’s shop the day of the shooting on Oct. 21. Gutierrez-Reed said she thought the rounds from that box were blanks, but no one has since acknowledged where the box came from.
Alec Baldwin was told that the gun was “cold,” indicating that the weapon contained only dummy bullets, but a live bullet inside the weapon struck and killed Hutchins as she was setting up a closeup shot of the actor, the suit alleges. Director Joel Souza was also hurt by the bullet after it exited Hutchins’ body.
Gutierrez-Reed said on the day of the shooting, she and two other prop assistants, handled the guns out of a safe. The armorer said she remembers cleaning the gun that Baldwin used and placed what she thought was another round from the dummy ammo box.
“To the best of Hannah’s knowledge, the gun was now loaded with 6 dummy rounds,” according to the suit. “Indeed, Defendants as suppliers of prop ammunition to the Rust set, sold, distributed, and advertised its props as dummy ammunition and not live rounds. Hannah relied upon and trusted that Defendants would only supply dummy prop ammunition, or blanks, and no live rounds were ever to be on set.”
Gutierrez-Reed said she spun the cylinder for the assistant director Dave Halls and showed him what she thought were loaded blank rounds. The armorer said Halls told her the gun was not going to be used for a scene or rehearsal, so she left the gun inside the church set while she attended to her other duties outside.
Halls was supposed to alert the armorer if Baldwin or anyone else used the gun because she was required to re-inspect the firearm under rules of the set, the lawsuit alleges. About 15 minutes later, Gutierrez-Reed claims Halls gave the firearm to Baldwin and called out, “cold gun,” which signified the firearm was empty or contained blank rounds.
The armorer was not inside the church when Baldwin practiced a cross-draw move from his shoulder holster and camera angles with Hutchins for an upcoming scene, the lawsuit said.
Gutierrez-Reed maintained no one alerted her that the actor was practicing with the gun, which Baldwin said “just went off.”
“Had Hannah been called back in, she would have re-inspected the weapon, and every round again, and instructed Baldwin on safe gun practice with the cross draw, as was her standard practice,” the lawsuit stated, adding the gun had been out of her possession for more than 15 minutes.
“Hannah would never have let Baldwin point the weapon at Halyna, as part of standard safe gun practices,” the lawsuit said. “Apparently, no one inside the Church stopped Baldwin from doing so, including AD Halls.”
Gutierrez-Reed also alleged Kenney tried to shift the blame onto her, and that the ammo business owner has tampered with the ongoing investigation.
So far, no criminal charges have been filed against any crew member or others involved in the production of the movie.
Baldwin said last week that he would comply with the investigation but has yet to turn over his cell phone to New Mexico police.