‘Rust’ armorer’s lawyers say gun that killed Halyna Hutchins was left unattended for two hours before the fatal shooting – before backtracking to match police report they had been locked in a safe
- Hannah Gutierrez-Reed loaded the .45 Long Colt which killed Halyna Hutchins
- Her lawyers claimed the gun was unattended on set for two hours during lunch
- They later backtracked saying it was only ten minutes but ammo was unattended
Lawyers representing the armorer who loaded Alec Baldwin’s gun which killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins claimed the weapon was left unattended for two hours on set, before backtracking and saying it was only ten minutes.
Jason Bowles, speaking on behalf of Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, suggested the gun may have been tampered with before it fired the fatal shot during the filming of Rust.
The .45 Long Colt was not supposed to contain live rounds and was one of three on a tray given to assistant director David Halls who then passed it on to Baldwin.
Gutierrez-Reed, 24, had loaded the gun on the prop cart with six dummy rounds which she took from a prop ammunition box labeled ‘dummies’, Bowles claims.
These rounds do not contain any gunpowder and are used on film sets to mimic real bullets.
Bowles claimed the guns were left unattended for two hours including the crew’s lunch break during a TV interview on Wednesday.
But later he backtracked after consulting Gutierrez-Reed, saying the guns had been locked in a safe during lunch and were only left unattended for five to 10 minutes, he told the New York Times.
Lawyers representing armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed (pictured) who loaded Alec Baldwin’s gun, suggested it could have been tampered with
Attorneys Robert Gorence (left) and Jason Bowles (right), representing ‘Rust’ armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, appeared on the Today Show on Wednesday to discuss the fatal shooting
Bowles said his client had asked her colleagues to watch the gun cart when she was not there and she remembered seeing it left unattended at points throughout the day.
Gutierrez-Reed loaded the three firearms at 11am, including the .45 Long Colt, which were to be used during filming on the fateful day, fellow lawyer Robert Gorence said.
He said: ‘Was there a duty to safeguard them 24/7? The answer is no, because there were no live rounds.’
The gun was declared ‘cold’ meaning it was safe to use and it remains unclear how a live round was used.
It comes as Halyna’s husband Matthew hired the firm Panish, Shea, Boyle and Ravipudi in Los Angeles and is set to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
It is not yet clear how the live round entered the gun before it shot and killed Halyna Hutchins (pictured)
The .45 Long Colt was not supposed to contain live rounds and was one of three on a tray given to assistant director David Halls who then passed it on to Baldwin (pictured on Monday)
The .45 Long Colt (file image) was not supposed to contain live rounds and was one of three on a tray given to assistant director David Halls
Sources told TMZ there will be multiple defendants in the suit and it will be filed on behalf of Matthew and their son Andros, nine, following her death on October 21.
Gutierrez Reed’s attorneys floated the theory that a ‘disgruntled’ crew member may have planted the live round on set as an act of revenge, during an interview with the Today show’s Savannah Guthrie on Wednesday.
In the wake of the fatal shooting that also wounded director Joel Souza, several crew members have come out claiming that they were overworked and denied hotel rooms in the vicinity of the New Mexico set.
‘I believe that somebody who would do that, would want to sabotage the set, would want to prove a point, want to say they’re disgruntled, they’re unhappy,’ Jason Bowles said.
The armorer’s attorneys suggested that a disgruntled crew member on set near Santa Fe, New Mexico, may have planted the live round as an act of sabotage
‘And we know that people had already walked off the set the day before… and the reason they are unhappy is they’re working 12 to 14 hour days, they are not given hotel rooms in and around the area, so they had to drive back and forth an hour to Albuquerque, and they’re unhappy.’
Gutierrez Reed has not been named a suspect, or charged with any crime in connection with Hutchins’ killing, but she retained legal representation.
‘There was a box of dummy rounds, and the box is labeled “dummy,'” Bowles said. ‘[Gutierrez Reed] loaded rounds from that box into the handgun, only later to find out – she had no idea – that there was a live round.’
The armorer then handed the vintage Colt pistol to assistant director David Halls, who, in turn, passed it on to Baldwin and announced ‘cold gun,’ indicating that the weapon was safe to use, according to authorities investigating the deadly October 21 shooting near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Baldwin, pictured after being questioned just hours after the shooting mourned the loss of Hutchins, whom he called his ‘friend’
‘We’re assuming somebody put the live round in that box,’ Bowles told Guthrie. ‘The person who put the live round in the box of dummy rounds had to have the purpose of sabotaging the set. There is no other reason you would do that: that you would mix that live round in with the dummy rounds.’
Gorence said the box of dummy ammunition was in a prop truck, which was ‘completely unattended at all times, giving someone access and opportunity.’
Gutierrez Reed’s lawyers defended her actions that day, saying that the loaded gun was not in her care for the entire duration of the filming because she was expected to perform two jobs on set: as an armorer and a props assistant.
Lawyers said as Gutierrez Reed (pictured at her home in Arizona, left) handed the loaded gun to assistant director David Halls (right), she spun the chamber to show him the rounds, but did not inspect them
Bowels said that after lunch, Gutierrez Reed handed the gun she had loaded earlier to Halls and then went about performing her other duties as a props assistant.
As she handed over the Colt, the lawyer said Gutierrez Reed spun the chamber to show Halls the rounds inside.
‘She did spin the cylinder for him,’ Bowles said. ‘She did show him each and every round in that chamber, which there were six.’
He added: ‘The problem is, when you look at a dummy round and you look at their appearance, they have the same projectile tip; some of these do not have a hole in the side. They mimic and look like a real round.’
The armorer’s legal team admitted that she did not inspect the gun to ascertain that the rounds inside the chamber were not live ammunition.
Gorence explained that Gutierrez Reed was not inside the church set at the time of the shooting because it took place while cameras were being set up, and not during filming,
‘She wasn’t there,’ the lawyer stressed.
The armorer’s attorneys said they are cooperating with the investigation, and are hoping that the FBI would be able to determine who had planted the live round.
The attorneys for Gutierrez Reed she is ‘absolutely devastated.’
‘She remains very emotional about everything that’s happened,’ Bowles said. ‘Coming on the scene and everything that she saw, she is heartbroken and she is just devastated by what’s happened.’
Meanwhile, ‘Rust’ camera assistant Lane Luper, who quit on the eve of the shooting, told Good Morning America that there were only two safety meetings on set and said production did not take gun safety seriously.
‘I think with Rust, it was the perfect storm of the armorer, the assistant director, the culture that was on set, the rushing. It was everything,’ he said.
Luper claimed the crew were overworked and exhausted from commuting to and from the set, and he also cited poor gun safety, which he said resulted in two accidental weapon discharges and one accidental sound-effects explosion.
Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin leave the bedroom home they are renting with their children in Manchester, Vermont on November 1
Baldwin has been largely silent about what happened on the set of ‘Rust,’ but on Tuesday he shared a social media post from one crew member slamming her coworkers for painting a ‘blatantly false’ picture of the set as ‘chaotic and unsafe’.
Baldwin issued a public statement the day after Hutchins’ death in which he indicated that he was cooperating with authorities and offered his condolences to her family.
Halls released a statement to the New York Post on Monday, saying he hopes the tragedy prompts the film industry to “reevaluate its values and practices” to ensure no one is harmed again.
Concerns have been raised about Halls’ safety record by colleagues on two previous productions.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said last week there was ‘some complacency’ in how weapons were handled on the set. Investigators found around 500 rounds of ammunition — a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and suspected live rounds — even though the set’s armorer, Gutierrez Reed, said real ammo should never have been present.
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