‘Rust’ armorer’s lawyers suggest a live bullet may have been swapped on set to ‘sabotage’ production



A picture of "Rust" armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. Voices of The West/Facebook

  • Attorney’s for the “Rust” armorer say someone may have tried to “sabotage” the set by putting live ammunition into a box of dummy rounds.

  • Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence, the lawyer’s for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, made the comments on the “Today” show.

  • Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the movie set last month, fatally shooting a cinematographer.

Attorney’s for the novice armorer in charge of weapons on the movie set of “Rust” – where actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer with a prop gun – suggested Wednesday that someone may have swapped out a dummy round with a live bullet to “sabotage” the production.

Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence, the lawyer’s for 24-year-old armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, speculated during an interview on NBC’s “Today” show without providing any evidence.

When asked by host Savannah Guthrie whether Gutierrez-Reed had loaded a live round into the FD Pietta long Colt .45 revolver that Baldwin fired on the New Mexico set last month – killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding the director Joel Souza – Bowles said, “We don’t even know that.”

“There was a box of dummy rounds and the box is labeled dummy. Hannah did take from that box, which she by all accounts should have been able to rely on,” Bowles said, adding, “that contains only dummy rounds.”

Bowles said Gutierrez-Reed loaded the revolver with rounds “from that box” only later to find out that live ammunition had been loaded into the weapon, he said, claiming, “she had no idea” and that she had “inspected the rounds.”

“Now we don’t know, however, whether that live round came from that box,” said Bowles. “We’re assuming it did. We’re assuming somebody put the live round in that box, which if you think about that, the person who put the live round in that box of dummy rounds had to have the purpose of sabotaging this set.”

Robert Gorence and Jason Bowles, the attorneys for "Rust" armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.

Robert Gorence and Jason Bowles, the attorneys for “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. TODAY

Bowles continued, “There’s no other reason you would do that – that you would mix that live round in with the dummy rounds.”

Asked by Guthrie whether that’s their theory, Bowles said, “We don’t have a theory yet. We are investigating,” but added, “That’s one of the possibilities.”

“I believe that somebody who would do that would want to sabotage the set, would want to prove a point, would want to say they’re disgruntled, they’re unhappy,” Bowles said as he pointed to reports that camera crew members had walked off the movie set hours before the fatal October 21 shooting incident in protest of working conditions.

“We know that people already walked off the set the day before,” said Bowles. “And they’re unhappy.”

The attorney explained, “We know a couple of facts. We know there was a live round in a box of dummy rounds that shouldn’t have been there.”

Bowles cited walkouts and protests by disgruntled crew who were upset about working conditions on the set as a possible motive.

“We have a time frame between 11 [a.m.] and 1 [p.m.], approximately, that day, in which the firearms at times were unattended, so there was opportunity to tamper with this scene,” Bowles said.

Bowles went on to say, “I think you can’t rule anybody out at this point.”

The incident remains under police investigation. Authorities haven’t said if sabotage is being considered in the deadly shooting incident.

Meanwhile, according to a previously released affidavit from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, the prop gun that Baldwin used was “set up” by Gutierrez-Reed and then given to assistant director Dave Halls.

Halls had handed Baldwin the gun while inside a church building setting on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set and yelled “cold gun,” indicating that it did not contain any live rounds before the incident, the documents state.

According to another affidavit, Halls told investigators that he did not check all the rounds in the barrel of the revolver before giving it to Baldwin and that he should have.

“He advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t recall if” Gutierrez-Reed “spun the drum” of the gun, the documents say.

Bowles said during the Wednesday interview that Gutierrez-Reed “did spin the cyndiller” of the gun for Halls.

“She did show him each and every round in that chamber, which there were six,” said Bowles. “There were six dummy rounds she believed to be in that handgun. She spun it and showed it all to Mr. Hall.”

When questioned by Guthrie on whether Gutierrez-Reed should have known there was a live round in the barrel of the gun as she spun the drum, Bowles said that dummy rounds “mimic and look like a real round.”

“On that scene, on that set, at that time Hannah spun it for Mr. Halls, he took the weapon and then he went into the church and thereafter provided it apparently to Mr. Baldwin,” said Bowles.

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