Attorneys for 'Rust' Armorer Claim Fatal Prop Gun Incident Could Have Been 'Sabotage'

Attorneys for 'Rust' armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed have suggested the fatal prop gun accident on set might have been the result of “sabotage.”

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Attorneys for Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed have suggested the fatal prop gun accident on set might have been the result of “sabotage.”

Gutierrez-Reed is currently under investigation for her handling of firearms on the set of Rust, the production in which actor Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun that killed the movie’s cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza. As the armorer on the set, Gutierrez-Reed was in charge of the firearms.

Appearing on Today on Wednesday, her attorneys Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence said the prop gun could have been loaded with a live bullet as part of an effort to “sabotage the set.”

“I believe that somebody who would do that would want to sabotage the set, want to prove a point, want to say that they’re disgruntled, they’re unhappy,” said Jason Bowles. “And we know that people had walked off the set the day before. … I think you can’t rule anybody out at this point.”

Bowles added that they’re aware “there was a live round in a box of dummy rounds that shouldn’t have been there.”

Prior to the fatal incident on set, multiple crew members expressed their issues with the way the production was being handled. Notably, crew from Alburquerque reportedly asked for hotel rooms closer to the Santa Fe, New Mexico set so they didn’t have to travel 50 miles to work each day. 

"We have people who had left the set, who had walked out because they were disgruntled,” Bowles continued. “We have a time frame between 11 [a.m.] and 1 [p.m., approximately, that day, in which the firearms at times were unattended, so there was opportunity to tamper with this scene.”

The Rust prop truck was found to contain at least one live .45 caliber round, according to authorities. Gorence said that truck “was completely unattended at all times, giving someone access and opportunity.”

Gutierrez-Reed has claimed she doesn’t know how the live round that killed Hutchins found its way on to the set. Assistant director David Halls is also the subject of a Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department investigation, as he was the individual who declared the gun “cold,” a.k.a. safe, before Baldwin fired it.

The attorneys said that Gutierrez-Reed was stretched thin on the $7 million production with two professional roles, and had expressed her issues with the production team with no result. “The whole production set became unsafe due to various factors, including lack of safety meetings. This was not the fault of Hannah."

Last week it was reported that Hannah Gutierrez-Reed had received a number of complaints on different film sets prior to the Rust incident. On the set of The Old Way, shot in Montana over the summer, actor Nicolas Cage yelled at the armorer after she failed to announce the usage of a weapon for the second time in three days.

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