On-set armourer Hannah Gutierrez Reed is suing an ammunition supplier in the latest twist in the aftermath of a fatal shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin film ‘Rust’.
The lawsuit accuses the supplier Seth Kenney and his company PDQ Arm & Propof of creating dangerous conditions on the set of the western, by including live ammunition in a box that was supposed to include only dummy rounds.
24-year-old Gutierrez Reed was the armourer who oversaw firearms, ammunition and related training on the set of the film, along with two colleagues.
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died on October 21 from a gunshot wound during a ‘Rust’ rehearsal at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Onlookers say the incident occurred when a gun Baldwin was pointing at Hutchins went off. The same shot injured director Joel Souza, leaving a projectile lodged in his shoulder.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office that is leading an investigation into the cause of the death has said it is too soon to determine whether charges will be filed, although investigators have described “some complacency” in how weapons were handled on set.
Who is to blame for the shooting on the set of ‘Rust’?
The lawsuit from Gutierrez Reed places blame Kenney and PDQ Arm & Prop for introducing live rounds to the set where only blanks and dummies were supposed to be present.
“The introduction of live rounds onto the set, which no one anticipated, combined with the rushed and chaotic atmosphere, created a perfect storm for a safety incident,” the lawsuit states.
Kenney said previously that he was sure his company did not send any live rounds to the set.
Investigators are trying to find where the live round came from, searching the Albuquerque premises of PDQ Arm & Prop in December.
The lawsuit adds new details to the chain of custody for guns and ammunition on the set, describing the appearance of a new box of ammunition – presumed to be harmless dummy rounds with no explosive – shortly before a revolver was loaded and passed to Baldwin.
Authorities recovered hundreds of rounds of ammunition at the ‘Rust’ movie set – a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what appeared to be live rounds.
Baldwin has said he didn’t know the gun he was holding contained a live round when it went off while pointed at Hutchins. In a tearful broadcast interview the actor also denied pulling the trigger of the gun that killed his colleague.
The lawsuit also accuses Kenney of inserting himself in the investigations and attempting to implicate Gutierrez Reed, who previously claimed she was the victim of a set up.
Previously investigators have said that Gutierrez Reed loaded the gun with five dummy rounds, but struggled to add a sixth round before a lunch break, when the revolver was locked in a truck. The final round was added after lunch when the gun was cleaned.
The incident has been plagued by rumours of union disputes, recriminations from key players, and lawsuits as Baldwin and others are set to be sued traumatised crew members.