the law

Rust Armorer Says Production Caused ‘Unsafe Set’ by Cutting Safety Precautions

Rust was being filmed on Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico. Photo: PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

In the week since a fatal shooting on the set of the film Rust, scrutiny has centered around the film’s armorer, whose role is to oversee weapons on a production. Now, in her first statement, Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed is maintaining her innocence in the shooting, alleging there have been “untruths” around the incident.
Last week, Rust star Alec Baldwin fired a gun on set that was thought to be “cold,” or not have live rounds in it, which killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza. Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyers told Vulture in a statement she “has no idea where the live rounds came from” in the gun. “Ultimately this set would never have been compromised if live ammo were not introduced,” her lawyers, Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence, said. They went on to allege the production denied her requests for increased safety precautions, including trainings and meetings, on the film. “The whole production set became unsafe due to various factors, including lack of safety meetings,” the statement continued. “This was not the fault of Hannah.” Further, her lawyers claimed Gutierrez-Reed was working in a second position on the set as a prop assistant, “which made it extremely difficult to focus on her job as an armorer.” A production representative for Rust has not replied to a request for comment.

The statement echoed a previous affidavit from the Santa Fe County sheriff’s office, in which Alexandria Hancock, a detective, cited an interview with Gutierrez-Reed. In the October 27 document for a warrant to search the prop truck where guns and ammo were stored, Hancock said Gutierrez-Reed told her she assured the guns were loaded with “dummy,” not “hot,” rounds and that she returned the guns to the truck during the lunch break before the shooting occurred. Additionally, per Hancock, Gutierrez-Reed said there were not live rounds on the set. The affidavit also cited an interview with assistant director David Halls, who told Hancock “he should have checked all of” the rounds in the gun before the shooting “but didn’t.”

Gutierrez-Reed’s statement additionally responded to previous reports that there had been multiple misfires on the set ahead of the shooting, chalking those up to the prop master, Sarah Zachry, and a stunt worker, whom Gutierrez-Reed says she told the gun was loaded with blanks. “Hannah still, to this day, has never had an accidental discharge,” her lawyers claimed.

Gutierrez-Reed is just the latest involved with Rust to set her story straight following the October 21 shooting. Two executive producers made a statement on October 27, per Deadline, that they had “no involvement with the physical and day-to-day production.” Meanwhile, Baldwin has been retweeting news stories indicating he was told the gun was not live, including one story reporting Halls’s claim that he did not check all the rounds in the gun. During an October 27 news conference, district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said “no one has been ruled out” of facing charges “at this point.”

Rust Armorer Addresses Alleged ‘Untruths’ Over Shooting