Attorneys representing Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed suggested that a disgruntled film crew member may have planted the live round that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins inside a box of prop ammunition in a bid to ‘sabotage’ Alec Baldwin‘s film.
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.
Gutierrez Reed’s attorneys floated the theory that one of those ‘disgruntled’ crew members 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.
‘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.
‘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.’
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
Gutierrez Reed’s lawyers claimed that she loaded the Colt used in the shooting with rounds from a box that was supposed to contain only ‘dummy’ ammunition
Bowles said his client was unaware that any live bullets were loaded into the gun before the deadly October 21 shooting near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
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.
‘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.’
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
Alec Baldwin (left) accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyn Hutchins (right) and wounded director Joel Souza
Baldwin, pictured after being questioned just hours after the shooting mourned the loss of Hutchins, whom he called his ‘friend’
Gutierrez Reed’s other attorney, Robert Gorence, revealed that while the Colt had been locked away in a safe, the box of dummy ammunition was in a prop truck, which was ‘completely unattended at all times, giving someone access and opportunity.’
Gorence also said that after the armorer retrieved the gun and loaded it with the rounds from the box, it was left unattended on a trey for two hours ahead of an afternoon film shoot.
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.