UPDATED with video, 7:55 AM: The attorneys for Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who is being investigated by the Santa Fe Sheriff’s department in the wake of DP Halyna Hutchins’ death from a prop gun discharged by Alec Baldwin, told NBC’s Today this morning that they’re looking into whether a live bullet was placed in a box of dummy rounds with the intent of “sabotaging 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,” Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney Jason Bowles told Today. “And we know that people had walked off the set the day before.” He did not specifically naming the cameramen who quit the set over complaints about housing accommodations.
Bowles added, “I think you can’t rule anybody out at this point.”
“We know there was a live round in a box of dummy rounds that shouldn’t have been there,” Bowles continued. “We have people who had left the set, who had walked out because they were disgruntled. 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.”
Last Friday, authorities found at least one live .45 caliber round in the Rust prop truck. Robert Gorence, Gutierrez-Reed’s second attorney, mentioned that the truck “was completely unattended at all times, giving someone access and opportunity.”
NBC News in their report mentioned that it did not verify the attorneys’ claims that ammunition was left unsupervised, although Sheriff’s Department did find 500 rounds of bullets which were a mix of dummies, blanks and what was believed to be live rounds.
Gorence also stressed what the attorneys have mentioned before: that Gutierrez-Reed was unable to do her job as armorer as she was stretched thin having two jobs on the set of the $7M production. Rust was her second movie as head armorer.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza told Today last week that a bulk of the investigation centers on Gutierrez-Reed and Assistant Director David Halls, who declared a “cold gun” on set prior to Baldwin firing it. The shooting took the life of Hutchins, and also injured Rust director Joel Souza.
Gutierrez-Reed said in a statement through her attorneys last week that she wasn’t aware of how the live bullet which killed Hutchins wound up on set.
Mendoza told NBC News last week he believes the investigation won’t be wrapped for months, at which time he’ll send it to the state’s D.A. Mary Carmack-Altwies, who has not ruled out any criminal charges in the wake of the incident.
Watch the Today interview above.