‘Rust’ Armorer Has ‘No Idea’ How Live Rounds Got on Set, Lawyers Say
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was in charge of firearms on the New Mexico film set where Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer with a gun that was not supposed to contain live ammunition.,
Lawyers for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer on the set of the film where Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer last week as he rehearsed with a gun he was told had no live ammunition, issued a statement Friday defending her adherence to safety protocols and saying that she did not know how live rounds wound up on the set in New Mexico.
“Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from,” Ms. Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyers, Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence, said in the first public statement on her behalf.
In their statement, they charged that the set of the film, “Rust,” had been unsafe, and that Ms. Gutierrez-Reed, 24, had been hired to two positions on the 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,” it said. “The whole production set became unsafe due to various factors, including lack of safety meetings. This was not the fault of Hannah.”
The lawyers said that they wanted “to address some untruths that have been told to the media, which have falsely portrayed her and slandered her,” and said that safety was her “number one priority on set.”
While some news accounts have suggested there might have been recreational shooting on the set, reports law-enforcement officials called “unconfirmed,” the lawyers said in their statement that the guns being used for the film could not have been used for such activities.
“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,” the statement said. “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.”
In the week since the shooting at Bonanza Creek Ranch, which killed the movie’s director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, and wounded its director, Joel Souza, Ms. Gutierrez-Reed and the film’s assistant director, Dave Halls, have come under scrutiny, since they both handled the Colt .45 being used in the film before it was handed to Mr. Baldwin.
The gun was declared “cold,” meaning it was not supposed to contain any live ammunition, according to court papers. But when it went off as Mr. Baldwin practiced drawing it, it fired a real bullet, which struck and killed Ms. Hutchins and wounded Mr. Souza, Sheriff Adan Mendoza of Santa Fe County said at a news conference Wednesday.
Ms. Gutierrez-Reed has also come under scrutiny for reports of unexpected gun discharges on the sets of films that she has worked on. Three former crew members on “Rust” said there were at least two accidental discharges on set on Oct. 16, days before the fatal shooting.
In the lawyers’ statement, they said that Ms. Gutierrez-Reed “has never had an accidental discharge” during her career. They suggested that others had been responsible for the two accidental discharges on the “Rust” set: “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.”
“Hannah is devastated and completely beside herself over the events that have transpired,” the statement said.