Lawyers in ‘Rust’ shooting say sheriff made false statement


(NewsNation) —Another fight is shaping up in the web of lawsuits surrounding the shooting death of crew member Halyna Hutchins, who was killed by a gun fired by actor Alec Baldwin on the set of the movie “Rust.”

Lawyers for Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armorer for the movie set who is alleged to have loaded Baldwin’s gun with a live round of ammunition that killed Hutchins, say Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza made false statements about Gutierrez Reed in interviews on “Good Morning America” and the “Today” show.

After a public record dump which released loads of investigative information, including text messages between Gutierrez Reed and one of the movie’s ammunition providers, Seth Kenney, in which she asked Kenney if she could shoot live rounds from a prop gun after filming, Mendoza made television rounds talking about the information dump.

“I think there was complacency on the set, there was disorganization and a degree of negligence, whether that arises to the criminal level, that will be up to the district attorney,” Mendoza said on “Today.”

Gutierrez Reed, in a separate lawsuit, is suing Kenney and his company “PDQ Arms and Prop” alleging it was their fault the live rounds made it on set.

Attorneys for the Hutchins family said Mendoza “trampled” on the constitutional rights of the family by not allowing them adequate time to review the information before the evidence dump. Hutchins’ family says they were given less than a day to digest the huge amount of material, including video of her fighting for her life. That’s footage the family believes could damage Hutchins’ young son.

Alec Baldwin on the set of Rust holding the pistol that is said to have killed crew member Halyna Hutchins

No one has yet admitted to bringing the live rounds of ammunition onto the set. But Mendoza went on to say that text messages of Gutierrez Reed’s which spoke about possibly using live ammunition on a previous movie set were “concerning.”

Lawyers for Gutierrez Reed say Mendoza implied without evidence that live rounds of ammunition may have been fired on the set by Gutierrez Reed of a previous movie, “Old Way.”

They called Mendoza’s comments “recklessly false” and said there is “no evidence to support this misstatement.”

“In the texts, Hannah asked Seth if she could fire live rounds through a ‘trapdoor’ meaning a historical
weapon, a Springfield Trapdoor, which is a type of firearm dating back to the late 1800s,” lawyers said in a letter to Judge Mary Carmack Altwies. “Hannah wanted to fire the historical weapon, after working hours and off the production set, at the end of production and not on set. Seth stated that live rounds shouldn’t be fired through prop weapons, and Hannah listened, and she never fired a live round through the

They also argued that Gutierrez Reed has never brought live rounds of ammunition on a movie set and never fired live rounds of ammunition on a movie set.

Both Mendoza and Gutirrez Reed’s lawyers are awaiting forensic analysis to be finished at the FBI crime lab, which they hope should help point to how the live rounds of ammunition ended up on the set of “Rust.”

Rounds found on the set of “Rust” were made up of a variety of brands and calibers.

The rounds that killed Hutchins were Starline Brass.

The Starline Brass rounds that killed Hutchins had the same markings as the dummy rounds Gutierrez was loading into Baldwin’s gun, according to Variety.

However, the dummy rounds and live rounds look slightly different. The dummies have gold colored primer and have a BB inside so they rattle when shaken. The live rounds have silver primer.

The bullet that killed Hutchins had silver primer.

Gutierrez Reed is seen on investigative tape saying she shook all the rounds to check for a BB before loading the gun.

Evidence released by the sheriff’s office also included Alec Baldwin, the actor and producer of “Rust” who fired the fatal shot, in an interrogation room.

“She hands me the gun,” he said. “I’m assuming she’s done it the right way she has over the last two weeks.”

Baldwin found out about Hutchins’ death while talking with a detective. The footage shows him visibly upset as the officer tells him, “she didn’t make it.”

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