‘Rust’ shooting may have been ‘sabotage’: Armorer’s attorney

Entertainment
Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin speaks on the phone in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office in Santa Fe, N.M., after he was questioned about a shooting on the set of the film “Rust” on the outskirts of Santa Fe, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza, officials said. (Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)

(NewsNation Now) — Attorneys representing the armorer from the movie “Rust” said someone may have put a live round in the set’s dummy round stash on purpose to “sabotage” the set.

“We’re assuming somebody put the live round in that box,” Jason Bowles said on “The Today Show” on Wednesday. “If you think about that, the person who put the live round in the box of dummy rounds had to have the purpose of sabotaging the set. There’s no other reason you would do that.”

Bowles was referring to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on Oct. 21, when Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set. The shot also injured the movie’s director.

Bowles pointed to the tension on the set in the days before the shooting. Some members of the crew walked out to protest long days. Bowles’ client, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, was serving two roles — the armorer and an assistant props specialist.

He said Gutierrez-Reed was not there when the gun was fired because the crew was doing technical run throughs, not a rehearsal or actually shooting a scene.

But he admitted Gutierrez-Reed did declare the gun safe as she gave it to assistant director David Wells.

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

The handguns were unattended between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. the day of the shooting, according to Bowles. Another attorney representing Guttierez-Reed, Robert Gorence, told The New York Times she put the guns in socks to signal they were not to be touched.

“Was there a duty to safeguard them 24/7? The answer is no, because there were no live rounds,” he told the Times.

Bowles also said it would have been hard for Gutierrez-Reed to spot a live round amongst blanks loaded into the gun.

“When you look at a dummy round, and you look at their appearance, they have the same projectile tip,” he said on “Today.”

No charges have been filed in the shooting.

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