Attorneys for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed — the inexperienced head armorer for Rust — have reportedly suggested somebody intentionally placed a live round of ammunition in the prop gun that Alec Baldwin discharged, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
On Wednesday, November 3, Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence shed light on their "sabotage" theory, suggesting someone could have slipped the live bullet into the weapon when it was left unattended outside on a tray, per TMZ.
While appearing on Today, the attorneys claimed the alleged culprit would have had access and the opportunity to do so between 11 AM and 1 PM. They even went so far as to suggest who could potentially be responsible for switching the bullets.
As Gutierrez-Reed previously explained — per a search warrant obtained by OK! — she checked the dummy ammunition and ensured they were not "hot" rounds prior to the fatal shooting on October 21.
She told authorities she left the prop gun in a safe located in a "prop truck" during the crew's lunch break. The 24-year-old alleged the gun was safe, given that she checked it, and it couldn't have been messed with, as it was locked up. However, she reportedly pointed out to authorities that several other people had access to the safe.
Meanwhile, Gutierrez-Reed's attorneys noted their client wasn't even on site when Baldwin discharged the weapon in the church while practicing his scene. Since it wasn't a filming session, but rather time used to figure out the camera angles, Gutierrez-Reed wasn't present.
Nevertheless, Bowles and Gorence confirmed Gutierrez-Reed inspected and spun the gun's chamber, the outlet reported. According to her lawyers, the rookie armorer put 6 rounds into the prop gun — thinking they were all dummies. She didn't realize a live round was put in the mix, the attorneys maintained.
After she properly took all necessary steps to secure the gun, as her lawyers claimed, Gutierrez-Reed handed the weapon off to assistant director David Halls, who went into the church with Baldwin and the crew — including director Joel Souza, who was also injured in the shooting.
- 'Rust' Armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed's Attorney Claims It Was Not Lack Of Experience That Led To Fatal Shooting, Questions Live Ammunition On Set
- 'Rust' Armorer Insists She Took Necessary Safety Measures While Assistant Director Admits Loaded Gun Was Not Thoroughly Checked Before Alec Baldwin's Fatal Shooting
- 'Rust' Armorer's Lawyer Claims She Was 'Framed' In Shooting Death Of Halyna Hutchins As DA Declares She Knows Who Loaded Prop Gun
Halls — whose qualifications have also come into question, given that he was the one who handed the actor the gun, and he later admitted he didn't properly check the weapon — shouted "cold gun," meaning there was no live ammunition, despite only seeing three rounds when the armorer showed him the gun. (The troubled DA reportedly admitted he should've asked to see all the rounds.)
The recent statement on behalf of Gutierrez-Reed is way more than she offered up last week when addressing the tragic incident. The armorer is "devastated and completely beside herself over the events that transpired," Bowles said in a statement on October 29. "Hannah would like to extend her deepest and most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Halyna."
Despite paying tribute to the late mother-of-one, 42, Gutierrez-Reed's lawyer declared: "Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from." The statement emphasized that safety was Gutierrez-Reed's number one priority, and she would never have allowed live rounds on set.
Meanwhile, Gutierrez-Reed's qualifications have been called into question. For starters, live and dummy rounds don't look the same, yet Gutierrez-Reed confirmed she checked the rounds, the outlet reported.
In addition, the rookie even admitted she almost didn't take a previous job as head armorer because she felt she was under qualified. Many believe she also should have been the one to directly hand the gun to the 30 Rock alum.
Gutierrez-Reed has also maintained that there was never live ammunition on the New Mexico set — a claim Santa Fe County Sheriff Adam Mendoza said was "not accurate." Gutierrez-Reed, Halls, as well as Baldwin are "the focus of the investigation" into Hutchins' death.