'Rust' Armorer Breaks Silence For First Time Since On-Set Fatal Shooting
By Jason Hall
October 29, 2021
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed "is devastated and completely beside herself over the events that have transpired," according to a statement from her attorney obtained by NBC News.
Last week, director of photography Halyna Hutchins, 42, was killed and director Joel Souza, 48, was injured after actor Alec Baldwin was unknowingly given a live gun believed to be a prop gun with blanks on-set.
The accident is currently under investigation by authorities in New Mexico, but no charges have been filed as of Friday (October 29) morning.
"Safety is Hannah's number one priority on set. Ultimately this set would never have been compromised if live ammo were not introduced. Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from," the statement from Gutierrez-Reed's attorneys, Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence, stated.
Court documents obtained by NBC News state that assistant director David Halls yelled "cold gun" to indicate the weapon didn't have live rounds as was intended as it was given to Baldwin prior to the accidental shooting.
Halls told authorities he should have checked the gun more thoroughly after noticing a difference in ammunition rounds, admitting that he didn't check each individual round of ammunition before handing it back to Guitierrez-Reed.
The rookie armorer's attorneys said the guns were locked up at night and Gutierrez-Reed attempted to get more training while on the set of the film.
"Hannah was hired on two positions on this film, which made it extremely difficult to focus on her job as an armorer," the statement says. "She fought for training, days to maintain weapons and proper time to prepare for gunfire but ultimately was overruled by production and her department. The whole production set became unsafe due to various factors, including lack of safety meetings."
Earlier this week, a crew member told TheWrap.com that Gutierrez-Reed's "dangerous" gun handling upset actor Nicolas Cage on the set of the western film The Old Way, two months prior to the accidental Rust shooting.
Brumbaugh said the 24-year-old failed to follow basic gun safety protocols, discharged a weapon multiple times on-set without warning, which caused Cage to scream at her and storm off set.
"Make an announcement, you just blew my f*****g eardrums out," Cage said, according to Brumbaugh.
Gutierrez-Reed also reportedly walked onto the set of The Old Way with live rounds of blanks without announcing it to her colleagues, as well as tucking weapons under her armpits, which would then be pointed up at others when she turned her back to them, according to Brumbaugh.
Brumbaugh told Gutierrez-Reed that she should be fired for her actions and the 24-year-old responded by revealing The Old Way was her first film.
An unidentified source, however, contested Brumbaugh's account of Gutierrez-Reed's negligence on the set of The Old Way.
"I have no such recollection of this event on our set. I asked my partners the same," the producer said. "The details on some of these accounts specifically when it pertains to 'The Old Way' have been blown out of proportion."
Multiple sources connected to Rust told TMZ that some crew members shot the gun during target practice off the set prior to it being used in the accidental shooting that killed Hutchins and injured Souza last week.
TMZ reports the target practice incident occurred off-the-clock when crew members shot the gun with real bullets away from the movie lot, which is how some believe the live round was unknowingly in the chamber when Baldwin shot the gun during filming.
On Monday (October 25), CNN reported Baldwin was practicing drawing his gun when the accidental shooting occurred, according to an affidavit.
Souza told authorities Baldwin was "sitting in a pew in a church building setting, and he was practicing a cross draw," which is when a shooter pulls the weapon from a holster on the opposite side of the body from their draw hand, before Souza -- who was looking over Hutchins' shoulder at the time -- said he "heard what sounded like a whirp and then loud pop."
Souza said Hutchins was "complaining about her stomach and grabbing her midsection" after the accidental shot was fired on-set, according to the affidavit.
Camera operator Reid Russell, who was standing next to Souza and Hutchins during the shooting, also spoke to investigators and said Hutchins said "she couldn't feel her legs" and was teated by medics as she bled onto the floor.
Both Souza and Russell acknowledged difficulties on-set during the day of the shooting accident due to a walkout of some members of the camera over labor problems, limiting the crew to only one camera available, which was not recording at the time of the accidental shooting.
Souza also confirmed he heard the term "cold gun" falsely used to describe the weapon on-set.
Last Thursday, NBC News reported Hutchins was killed during the accidental shooting, while Souza was injured, the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office confirmed in a statement.
The union confirmed in the email to IndieWire that Souza was released from a local hospital after receiving treatment.
Baldwin addressed the accident in a statement obtained by TMZ last Friday morning.
"There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours," Baldwin said "I'm fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred. I am in touch with with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna."
An eyewitness on the set of the Santa Fe film Rust told Showbiz 411 they heard a distraught Baldwin repeatedly say, “In all my years, I’ve never been handed a hot gun," meaning a gun with real ammunition.
Hutchins was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where she was pronounced dead.
The witness told Showbiz 411 that Baldwin, 63, was immediately taken to a hospital after the shooting and "had no idea how badly they were hurt or Halyna was dead."
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Baldwin was seen Thursday while speaking on the phone outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office.
"There was an accident today on the New Mexico set of 'Rust involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks," a spokesperson for Baldwin said in a statement obtained by NBC News on Thursday. "Production has been halted for the time being. The safety of our cast and crew remains our top priority."
No charges have been filed in relation to the shooting, but authorities confirmed it remains under an active investigation.
“We’re treating this as we would any other investigation,” Sheriff's Office spokesman Juan Rios said via NBC News, adding that deputies were still determining whether the shooting was accidental.
Baldwin is one of the film's stars and also serves as a producer.