The armorer for Alec Baldwin’s Rust film, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed recently released a statement following Alec Baldwin shooting and killing the film’s director of photography Halyna Hutchins.
Her lawyer, Jason Bowles, provided a statement on her behalf to Variety.
The statement begins, “First Hannah would like to extend her deepest and most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Halyna. She was an inspirational woman in film who Hannah looked up to. She also offers her thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery to Joel. Hannah is devastated and completely beside herself over the events that have transpired.”
The statement then claims to want to set the record straight about “some untruths that have been told to the media.”
It reads, “She would like to address some untruths that have been told to the media, which have falsely portrayed her and slandered her. Safety is Hannah’s number one priority on set. Ultimately this set would never have been compromised if live ammo were not introduced.”
It continued, “Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from. Hannah and the prop master gained control over the guns and she never witnessed anyone shoot live rounds with these guns and nor would she permit that. They were locked up every night and at lunch and there’s no way a single one of them was unaccounted for or being shot by crew members.”
“Hannah still, to this day, has never had an accidental discharge. The first one on this set was the prop master and the second was a stunt man after Hannah informed him his gun was hot with blanks,” the statement asserted.
The statement then claims Reed was working two jobs on the set and made it difficult to focus on being the armorer with blame being put on the production company.
It states, “Hannah was hired on 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.”
The statement adds, “The whole production set became unsafe due to various factors, including lack of safety meetings. This was not the fault of Hannah.”
Finally, it concludes, “Hannah and her legal team will address more of these rumors and the whole incident in an upcoming statement next week.”
These “untruths” as the statement claims come from multiple news outlets. First, TMZ reported that the gun Baldwin used had been used by crew members off set for target practice.
TMZ reports, “Multiple sources directly connected to the ‘Rust’ production tell TMZ … the same gun Alec Baldwin accidentally fired — hitting the DP and director — was being used by crews members off set as well, for what we’re told amounted to target practice.”
“We’re told this off-the-clock shooting — which was allegedly happening away from the movie lot — was being done with real bullets … which is how some who worked on the film believe a live round found its way in one of the chambers that day,” their report added.
TheWrap also reported that “A number of crew members had taken prop guns from the New Mexico set of the indie Western — including the gun that killed Hutchins — to go ‘plinking,’ a hobby in which people shoot at beer cans with live ammunition to pass the time, the insider said.”
The Los Angeles Times also reported that there had been two prop gun discharges on the set of the film before Baldwin shot Hutchins.
They report, “Baldwin’s stunt double accidentally fired two rounds Saturday after being told that the gun was ‘cold’ — lingo for a weapon that doesn’t have any ammunition, including blanks — two crew members who witnessed the episode told the Los Angeles Times.”
Serge Svetnoy, the gaffer or chief electrician on the set, blamed Hutchins’ death on Reed.
In a Facebook post he wrote, “I want to tell my opinion on why this has happened. I think I have the right to do it. It’s the fault of negligence and unprofessionalism. The negligence from the person who was supposed to check the weapon on the site did not do this; the person who had to announce that the loaded gun was on the site did not do this; the person who should have checked this weapon before bringing it to the set did not do it.”
He added, “I’m sure that we had the professionals in every department, but one – the department that was responsible for the weapons. There is no way a twenty-four-year-old woman can be a professional with armory; there is no way that her more-or-less the same-aged friend from school, neighborhood, Instagram, or God knows where else, can be a professional in this field.”
An affidavit obtained by Deadline detailed the moments leading up to the shooting.
It reads, “During the filming of the movie, the Assistant Director (Dave Halls,) grabbed one of three ‘prop-guns’ that was set-up by the Armorer (Hannah Gutierrez), which was on a cart. The cart is a gray in color rolling table with two layers and was left outside of the structure due to COVID19 restrictions.”
It continues, “Affiant learned one of the prop-guns was then grabbed by the Assistant Director (Dave Halls) and he took it to the actor identified as Alec Baldwin who was inside of the structure. As the Assistant Director (Dave Halls) handed the gun to the Actor Alec Baldwin, (Dave Halls) yelled, “Cold Gun,” indicating the prop-gun did not have any live rounds.
“The prop-gun was fired by the Actor Alec Baldwin, striking the Cinematographer identified as (Halayna Hutchins) and Joel Souza (Director) who was behind the Cinematographer (Halayna Hutchins),” it states.
“Affiant later learned, the Assistant Director (Dave Halls) did not know live rounds were in the prop-gun, when he had given to the prop gun to the Actor Alec Baldwin,” the affidavit reads.
The affidavit then details what happened to the gun after it was fired, “Affiant learned what had happened to the prop-gun once it was fired. The prop-gun was handled by the Armorer identified as (Hannah Gutierrez) and given to the Assistant Director (Dave Halls). The Armorer (Hannah Gutierrez) was given the prop gun after it was fired by Actor Alec Baldwin, she then took the spent casing out of the prop-gun. When deputies arrived on scene, the prop-gun was handed to arriving deputies by Armorer (Hannah Gutierrez).”
In a press conference, law enforcement detailed that Gutierrez-Reed is cooperating with them. However, Sheriff Adan Mendoza also noted, “it’s too early, right now, in the investigation to comment on charges at this point.”
He added, “The investigation will continue and if the Sherriff’s Office determines during our investigation a crime has occurred and probable cause exists, an arrest or arrests will be made and charges will be filed. Otherwise, we will complete our investigation and forward the full investigation and evidence to the District Attorney for review.”
What do you make of Gutierrez-Reed’s statement?