Crew members of the ill-fated movie Rust, where Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins with a loaded prop gun last month, say the set had an ‘armorer mentor’ who supplied the gun but was not seen during filming.
Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, was recommended for the job by Seth Kenney, a 51-year-old prop expert who’s been in the movie business for at least a decade, crew members told the Los Angeles Times.
A crew sheet leaked to the newspaper lists Kenney as an ‘armorer mentor,’ a title that film crew veterans say is rarely used.
Six people familiar with the filming say Kenney, who owned the PDQ Media Arm & Prop rental company in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, supplied the guns used on set, including the FD Pietta Colt .45 that killed Hutchins.
On October 21, Baldwin fired the gun – which he believed to be ‘cold’ but was instead loaded with a live bullet – while rehearsing a scene, hitting Hutchins in the chest and piercing director Joel Souza in the shoulder.
Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, was recommended for the film by ‘armorer mentor’ Seth Kenney, who sources say supplied all the guns for the film
Sources tell the Los Angeles Times that they never saw Kenney at the New Mexico movie set
Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on October 21., Above, Baldwin after being questioned at the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office
Hutchins’ last words were, ‘That was no good. That was no good at all,’ eyewitnesses say
The incident is still being investigated by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.
Much has been reported about Gutierrez-Reed’s lack of experience, though it appears she wasn’t solely responsible for the film’s weapons.
A key grip on The Old Way, the last film she worked on, said he told the assistant director that Gutierrez-Reed needed to be fired after the second time she fired a gun without a warning.
The film’s star, Nicolas Cage, reportedly yelled: ‘Make an announcement, you just blew my f**king eardrums out!’ before storming off set, according to grip Stu Brumbaugh.
Kenney was added to the Rust crew in late September, the Los Angeles Times reports, though multiple crew members say they never saw him on set.
The armorer has only one other movie credit to his name, serving as a ‘weapons consultant’ in the 2015 Shia LaBeouf film Man Down, according to IMDb.
Before switching to films, he was an entrepreneur who owned businesses with his wife in San Clemente, California, including a a stationery store, Cheers; a gift shop, Summer House; and the Del Mar Bicycle Co.
Weapons for the independent western film were supplied by Kenney, 51, who is credited as a weapons consultant in the 2015 film Man Down. Above, the entrance to the set of Rust
Much has been reported about Gutierrez-Reed, who was reportedly the source of complaints at her previous job, the upcoming Nicolas Cage-helmed film The Old Way
From 2011 to April 2016, he worked at the Hand Prop Room in Los Angeles, where he helped stock the prop rooms of shows like The Walking Dead and films like Django Unchained.
‘He rolled into Hollywood from Orange County in 2011. I met him for the first time when he was working at the Hand Prop firm,’ said Django property master Hope M. Parrish.
‘I came in to look at their weapons for Django and he was a sales person in the weapons room there. Nice kid.’
The Hand Prop Room eventually sued Kenney in May 2016, claiming he had taken some of their weapons and began stealing their clients for his own business.
He had formed PDQ Media Arm & Prop in Georgia four months earlier, though the company eventually dissolved in 2017, according to state records.
The Hand Prop Room alleged in its tortious interference lawsuit that Kenney was trying to poach the prop master for The Walking Dead, a zombie show that requires a large amount of weapons.
‘What the f**k just happened?’ Baldwin reportedly asked cast and crew members after the shot went off, and Hutchins suddenly stumbled back into head electrician Serge Svetnoy’s arms
Halyna Hutchins, 42, is survived by her son Andros Hutchins, 9, and her husband Matthew
The Hand Prop Room moved to dismiss the case in Mach 2017.
Another source, who dealt with Kenney at the Hand Prop Room told the LA Times: ‘He’s very knowledgeable in the field. He’s a personable person, very good at educating individuals who aren’t so good at weapons.
‘He customized the weapons for whatever load you’re needing, which is very precise, he’s one of the very few who know how to do that. He provided weapons to hundreds of productions when he worked there.’
After shooting Hutchins on October 21, Baldwin reportedly asked, ‘What the f**k just happened?’
Kenney, the ‘mentor armorer’ on Rust, worked at Hand Prop Room in Los Angeles from 2011 to 2016
The prop shop later sued him for allegedly poaching their clients and taking inventory for his own business, though they later dropped the lawsuit
The actor, perplexed by the incident, had been prepping for a scene that involved him drawing and firing the prop gun.
‘So,’ Baldwin said to Souza before firing the shot, ‘I guess I’m gonna take this out, pull it, and go, “Bang!”‘
The actor then drew the gun – which he had been assured was safe to use by the film’s first assistant director, David Halls, being told it was a ‘cold gun’ – and fired.
But instead of a blank, a live bullet flew out of the barrel, fatally striking Hutchins in the chest, and exiting her body to also pierce Souza.
‘What the f*** was that? That burns!’ the director reportedly screamed during the ensuing confusion.
Baldwin, shocked, then proceeded to put the gun down, cast members revealed, and looked at his two savaged colleagues.
‘What the f**k just happened?’ the actor repeated again.
Then, pandemonium ensued.
‘Medic!’ someone on the set screamed, The Times Reported, as staffers gathered around Hutchins, who was carefully set to the ground by Svetnoy and was bleeding profusely from her chest.
‘I can’t feel my legs,’ the cinematographer told Svetnoy.
Cast and crew members struggled to stop the bleeding.
At this point, the Times reveals, Hutchins, still conscious at the time, looked up at one of the staffers trying to save her, a boom operator.
‘Oh, that was no good,’ the sound guy said, taking in the severity of his colleague’s injury.
‘No,’ Hutchins replied, knowingly. ‘That was no good. That was no good at all.’
The cinematographer, 42, succumbed to her wounds mere hours later. She is survived by her son Andros Hutchins, 9, and her husband Matthew.
Warrants detailed how during a scene rehearsal, an assistant director on the film, David Halls, allegedly handed Baldwin a loaded .45 revolver.
Gutierrez-Reed explained to detectives she had checked that dummy rounds were in the weapon earlier in the day adding ‘no live ammo is ever kept on set.’
The bullet hit Hutchins in the chest and went on to strike director Joel Souza in the shoulder
A cameraman who quit Rust due to safety concerns said that armorer Gutierrez-Reed ‘seemed like she was also under a lot of pressure to rush’
Santa Fe Sheriff Adan Mendoza confirmed that a mix of dummy rounds, blanks and real bullets were all found on set.
Dummies and live rounds can sometimes appear almost identical.
Authorities have been attempting to work out who handled the gun before Baldwin fired the fatal shot on October 21.
It’s believed the gun came into contact with at least four people in the hours prior to the firing and included Baldwin, Gutierrez-Reed, Halls and the film’s prop master Sarah Zachry.
Cameramen Lane Luper, who left the production due to safety concerns, said the armory crew working alongside Gutierrez Reed were ‘three inexperienced people’.
‘It’s fine on a [low-budget production] to have inexperienced people, but your department heads shouldn’t be, or people handling firearms shouldn’t be,’ he told the Hollywood Reporter. ‘It seemed like she was also under a lot of pressure to rush.’
Luper Lane has criticized the film’s production as one that created the perfect storm for the tragic shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins
‘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 also told Good Morning America about the events that led up to the fatal shooting.
Days after the Rust shooting, Stu Brumbaugh, the key grip on The Old Way, told TheWrap that Gutierrez-Reed failed to abide by basic gun safety protocols during the shooting of that film, which took place just two months before Rust.
He said that after Gutierrez-Reed discharged a weapon for the second time in three days without warning, Cage yelled: ‘Make an announcement, you just blew my f**king eardrums out!’ before reportedly storming off set.
Brumbaugh said he told the assistant director on the Montana set that Gutierrez-Reed needed to be fired: ‘After the second round I was pissed off. We were moving too fast. She’s a rookie.’
After raising his concerns to his superiors, he learned that The Old Way was the young woman’s very first movie.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating how live rounds ended up on the set of Rust. Above, Hutchins in an unknown set
A producer for The Old Way denied Brumbaugh’s claims: ‘I have no such recollection of this event on our set. I asked my partners the same.’ They said: ‘The details on some of these accounts specifically when it pertains to The Old Way have been blown out of proportion.’
The Old Way producer said that Gutierrez-Reed worked under veteran property master, Jeffrey W. Crow.
But Brumbaugh and another source who was on the set claimed that Gutierrez-Reed: ‘put the cast and crew in several unnecessary and dangerous situations.’
Last week, a lawyer for Gutierrez-Reed defended her role as an armorer on Rust.
‘Hannah was very well trained by her father, Thell, who worked with her on sets from the time she was 10-years-old. She did everything she could to ensure safety on the set.’
Referring to the fact a real bullets were found on set, the attorney said ‘never in a million years did Hannah think that live rounds could have been in the ‘dummy’ round box.’
In a statement to the LA Times, her attorney added: ‘Hannah was hired for two positions on this film, which made it extremely difficult to focus on her job as an armorer. She fought for training, days to maintain weapons and proper time to prepare for gunfire but ultimately was overruled by production and her department.’
‘He’s supposed to check the guns, he’s responsible’: Panicked 911 calls from Alec Baldwin tragedy reveal how script supervisor blamed assistant director for death of cinematographer – but why did ANY of the guns have live ammo?
The audio recordings of 911 calls made by the crew of Alec Baldwin’s film Rust have revealed desperate attempts to save their colleague, and allegations of negligence.
Mamie Mitchell, the script supervisor of the film, made the call after Baldwin accidentally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, and director Joel Souza, 48.
The group were filming the Western film in the desert outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Thursday when the tragedy happened.
In her call, Mitchell, a veteran script supervisor with credits dating back to 1974, points the finger at the assistant director, accusing him of negligence.
Mitchell calls 911 and tells the woman answering: ‘We need an ambulance out at Bonanza Creek Ranch right now. We have had two people accidentally shot on a movie set accidentally.’
While she is on the phone, Mitchell is instructing another person to ‘clear the road’ to allow the ambulance easy access to the site.
Mitchell is then transferred to the Santa Fe fire and EMS, and, sounding panicked, urges a swift response.
‘Bonanza Creek ranch. We have had two people accidentally shot on a movie set by a prop gun.
‘We need help immediately. Bonanza Creek ranch. Come on.’
The 911 operators then asks Mitchell for her details.
Mitchell, who has worked on films including No Country For Old Men, Sicario and 3:10 to Yuma, can be heard saying: ‘It sounds like somebody else is calling for ambulances.
‘Everybody should be. We need some help.
‘Our director and our camerawoman has been shot.’
She then asks someone on set: ‘Are they going to take him to the road?’
The 911 operator asks: ‘So, was it loaded with a real bullet or what?’
Mitchell replies: ‘I don’t, I cannot tell you that. We have two injuries from a movie gunshot.’
While the phone operator is inputting the details, Mitchell can be heard telling someone else: ‘OK, this f****** AD that yelled at me at lunch asking about revisions, this motherf*****.
‘Did you see him lean over my desk and yell at me? He’s supposed to check the guns. He’s responsible for what happened.’
According to a search warrant filed in a Santa Fe court, the gun was one of three that the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, had set on a cart outside the wooden structure where a scene was being acted.
An inconsolable Alec Baldwin is shown, left, on Thursday outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office after accidentally shooting and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, right
Assistant director Dave Halls grabbed the gun from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds, a detective wrote in the search warrant application.
It is not known whether Mitchell was referring Halls in the audio.
It was unclear how many rounds were fired. Gutierrez removed a shell casing from the gun after the shooting, and she turned the weapon over to police when they arrived, the court records say.
On the call, the 911 operator tries to ask Mitchell how many people were injured and, confused, Mitchell replies: ‘No, no, I’m a script supervisor.’
The operator asks again, and Mitchell says: ‘Two that I know of. I was sitting there rehearsing and it went off and I ran out. We all went out there, but doubled over the camerawoman and the director.’
She tells another person: ‘They are clearing the road, can you go back – back in the town, back in the Western camp.’
The operator asks if there is any serious bleeding, and Mitchell, flustered, hands the phone over to a man.
‘Hello?’ the man says.
‘Hi, I have a protocol of questions I need to ask. If you could answer them as best you can,’ the 911 operator says. ‘Are they completely alert?’
The man replies: ‘Yes, they are alert.’
The operator asks if the bleeding is controlled, and the man replies: ‘Let’s see if I’m allowed to get closer… No.’
It is unclear if he is saying that the bleeding is not controlled, or that he is not able to get closer.
‘We’ve got one laying down,’ he tells the operator, adding that they are near gate one and have a van ready to escort the ambulances quickly to the precise spot.
A devastated Baldwin is pictured bent over outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office on Thursday after speaking to investigators
A woman then calls back saying: ‘Hi, I am calling back from Bonanza Creek Ranch. We actually need two ambulances not one.’
The operator replies: ‘OK, so we’re doing a call now for somebody else and we’ll get two up to you.’
The woman, her voice showing the strain, replies: ‘OK. And that’s 10 to 15 minutes?’
‘I don’t know – we’re getting them right now, to you now,’ the operator replies.
‘What? What?’ the woman says, sounding panicked as she speaks to someone else.
‘We have two ambulances heading your way.’
‘What?’ the woman says, then returns speaking to the operator: ‘OK, thank you.’
Joel Souza, the director of Rust, is seen in November 2019. He was reportedly shot in the shoulder
The operator replies: ‘You’re welcome, bye.’
Mitchell later said she was standing next to Hutchins when she was shot.
‘I ran out and called 911 and said ‘Bring everybody, send everybody,’ Mitchell told The Associated Press.
‘This woman is gone at the beginning of her career. She was an extraordinary, rare, very rare woman.’
Mitchell said she and other crew members were attending a private memorial service Friday night in Santa Fe.
Baldwin described the killing as a ‘tragic accident.’
‘There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours. I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation,’ Baldwin wrote on Twitter.
‘My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.’
No immediate charges were filed, and sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said Baldwin was permitted to travel.
‘He’s a free man,’ Rios said.