UPDATED with Hutchins’ family lawyer statement: Long in the spotlight for Alec Baldwin’s fatal shooting of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins last October, the film’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed is now declaring a degree of vindication after a vital safety report’s release Wednesday.
“After OSHA’s very comprehensive safety investigation involving numerous interviews and review of documents, it has concluded that production willfully failed to follow national gun safety standards, which caused this tragedy,” Reed’s lawyer Jason Bowles told Deadline on Wednesday. “OSHA found that Hannah Gutierrez Reed was not provided adequate time or resources to conduct her job effectively, despite her voiced concerns,” the Albuquerque, New Mexico-based attorney noted.
In the damning report, Rust Movie Productions LLC and its management were hit with a maximum $136,793 fine by the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau for its “willful and serious” violation of workplace safety procedures during the filming of the indie Western.
“Critically, OSHA also determined that production failed to call Hannah in to perform her armorer duties and inspect the firearm right before its use in the impromptu scene with Baldwin,” Bowles continued in his remarks for his client. “As we have stated before, had anyone from Production called Hannah in back into the church before the scene to consult with her, this tragedy would have been prevented. Hannah has also reached out to OSHA recently in an effort to provide her suggestions for changes and improvement of safety standards on sets to avoid a tragic incident in the future.”
With various lawsuit filed over the killing of Hutchins — including a wrongful death action from her family against Baldwin, the Rust producers, Reed and other crew members — the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office is still investigating what actually occurred at the Bonanza Creek Ranch set on October 21. As of yet, no one has been charged or arrested for the incident by either the cops of the local D.A.
As that probe tightened, Reed herself sued Rust armorer/mentor Seth Kenney and his Albuquerque-based PDQ Arm and Prop in January of this year. Focusing on alleged negligence by Kenney seemingly mixing up live and dummy rounds, the filing in the New Mexico courts also claimed that Props Manager Sarah Zachary wanted to cover up any previous accidents.
Reiterating the narrative that Reed’s father Thell Reed, an industry veteran father, has been espousing since mid-November last year that Kenney never returned hundreds of rounds of live ammo to him from another movie they worked on together, the January 12-filed suit also implicitly carried forward the “sabotage” theory that the younger armorer’s attorneys have been espousing for months.
Hutchins was killed by a live bullet in a prop gun discharged by Baldwin on October 21, 2021 on the set of Rust near the New Mexico town. “I didn’t pull the trigger,” Baldwin insisted to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in a December 2 interview. The 30 Rock actor also told Stephanopoulos, “I have been told by people who are in the know, in terms of even inside the state, that it’s highly unlikely that I would be charged with anything criminally.”
“The idea that the person holding the gun and causing it to discharge is not responsible is absurd to me,” Matt Hutchins, Halyna’s husband, told Today‘s Hoda Kotb in an interview on February 24. “Watching him I just felt so angry. I was just so angry to see him talk about her death so publicly in such a detailed way and then to not accept any responsibility after having just described killing her.”
On March 11, Baldwin had his lawyers file paperwork seeking arbitration against his fellow Rust producers. Long story short, the multiple Emmy winners desires to invoke a provision in his contract that could indemnify him in all current and future lawsuits, as well as see his legal bills paid.
Hutchins family lawyer Brian Panish of Los Angeles-based Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi called Baldwin’s filing and revelations of personal communications with Matt Hutchins to be “shameful.” He added: “The only action that ended the film’s production was Baldwin’s killing of Halyna Hutchins.”
Today, Panish complimented OSHA for their findings and hinted at some of his own.
“We are pleased that the NM OSHA report has shed some light on the workplace safety issues that plagued Rust and led to the tragic and fatal events of Oct 21, 2021,” the attorney told Deadline. “Our own investigation has found overwhelming evidence of recklessness and negligence on the part of the Rust production team and others.”
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