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Lawyers for 'Rust' armorer claim sabotage may have led to fatal shooting

Rust Prop Firearm Shooting Assistant Director
Posted at 2:10 AM, Nov 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-04 07:28:09-04

The woman in charge of weapons on the movie set where actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins said Wednesday night that she had inspected the gun Baldwin shot but doesn't know how a live bullet ended up inside.

"Who put those in there and why is the central question," Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armorer for the movie "Rust" said in a statement issued by one of her lawyers, Jason Bowles of Albuquerque, New Mexico. "Hannah kept guns locked up, including throughout lunch on the day in question (Oct. 21), and she instructed her department to watch the cart containing the guns when she was pulled away for her other duties or on a lunch break."

"Hannah did everything in her power to ensure a safe set," the statement continued. "She inspected the rounds that she loaded into the firearms that day. She always inspected the rounds."

The statement adds that she inspected the rounds before handing the firearm to assistant director David Halls "by spinning the cylinder and showing him all of the rounds and then handing him the firearm."

In speaking with NBC's Today Show on Wednesday, Gutierrez Reed's attorneys said they believed that someone may have placed a live round in a box with a "dummy" rounds label, though they did not provide evidence to support such a theory.

Halyna Hutchins, the director of photography for "Rust," was shot and killed, and director Joel Souza was injured on Oct. 21 when a gun being handled by Baldwin fired while crew members were setting up a scene.

While lawyers have floated sabotage as a possible cause of death, reports indicate that some crew members felt that work conditions on set were unsafe even before the fatal shooting.

Last month, The Associated Press reported that several crew members had raised safety concerns about the production. The outlet also said that seven crew members even walked off the set hours before the shooting.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Baldwin's stunt double had accidentally fired two live rounds on set five days before the fatal shooting after being told the gun he was holding did not contain live ammunition.

A local sheriff himself said last Wednesday that he felt there was "complacency" regarding gun safety on the set of "Rust" before the shooting. Santa Fe's district attorney added that her office would consider any safety issues on set when filing charges.

According to CNN, Halls, the film's assistant director, has faced complaints on other film sets for his disregard for safety protocols.