‘Rust’ Armorer Sues Ammo Supplier Over Live Rounds That Killed Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

The police investigation into what really went down on the set of Rust in October 2021 when Alec Baldwin shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins is still ongoing, but today the armorer in the spotlight of the troubled indie Western has launched her own legal action against the man she says supplied the fatal ammunition.

“Defendants distributed and sold prop ammunition which presented as unreasonable
risk of injury, without warning of the risks that could have been avoided had the risks been disclosed,” says Hannah Gutierrez Reed in a complaint filed today in New Mexico court against Rust armorer/mentor Seth Kenney and his Albuquerque-based PDQ Arm and Prop. company. “Defendants prepared dummy ammunition cartridge boxes from surplus ammunition stockpiles that comprised of both dummy and live ammunition,” the explosive 22-page suit from lawyers Jason Bowles and Todd J. Bullion adds (read it here).

“These false representations caused live rounds to be introduced on set, resulting in a foreseeably catastrophic outcome, and causing damages to persons on the Rust set,” the civil complaint alleges. “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.”

Illustrated with screenshots of text and laying out Gutierrez Reed’s POV on the terrible day, the filing also unveils for the first time how the “Video Village” system was on the fritz on October 21, just hours after the bulk of the camera crew had quit over financial and safety concerns.

“The failure of Video Village that day was very significant because no one could see inside the Church at the time of the impromptu Baldwin gun scene,” the suit says of the rehearsal where Baldwin was practicing a “quick draw” move on a gun that he insists he never pulled the trigger on. “In effect, the de facto camera security system on the Rust set was shut down that day.”

Almost immediately after Hutchins died and director Joel Souza was injured by Baldwin’s gun, the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office had unsuccessful sought any expected footage of the shooting

Detailing how apparent negligence by Kenney supposedly mixed up the live and dummy rounds on the already gun discharged plagued film and claiming Props Manager Sarah Zachry wanted to cover up any previous accidents, Wednesday’s suit also implicitly carries forward the “sabotage” theory that Gutierrez Reed’s attorneys have been pushing for months. The complaint also seeks to reinforce the tale that the armorer’s industry vet father Thell Reed 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.

Gutierrez Reed, who reveals she was paid $7,500 to be both armorer and a “key props assistant” on the $7 million budgeted Rust, is seeking a jury trial and variety of damages from Kenney. A long time associate of the elder Reed and a colleague of Gutierrez Reed’ on the Nicolas Cage movie The Old Way, Kenney emerged as a potential key player in the tragedy mere days after Hutchins’ death.

In an October 29 “call” with police, Kenney floated a theory of “reloaded ammunition” that “a friend” had given him a few years ago, an affidavit from the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office proclaimed. The ammo in question had a specific logo on it of “a star, an arch, and then another star” matching that of big dealer Starline Brass. “He described how the company only sells components of ammunition, and not live ammunition, therefore it had to be a reloaded round,” the seven-page document noted of Kenney’s POV.

On November 30, 2021, a New Mexico judge granted the Sheriff’s Office a fourth search warrant in their probe of the shooting. “Affiant is requesting a search warrant be approved for the business of PDQ Arm & Prop, LLC, in attempt to search for any items of evidentiary value that will help with the ongoing investigation in relation to the death of Halyna Hutching (sic) on the set of Rust, filmed at the Bonanza Creek Ranch,” requested the successful affidavit from Detective Alexandria Hancock.

Named as a defendant in the two lawsuits that have already been filed in the Rust tragedy, weapons specialist Kenney has emerged as a pivotal figure in the cops’ probe, along with armorer Gutierrez-Reed and First Assistant Director Dave Halls, who has admitted he did not check the gun properly before handing it to Baldwin that day. Like star-producer Baldwin, both Gutierrez-Reed and Halls hired defense lawyers fairly quickly after the fatal shooting last fall.

Speaking to Good Morning America on December 2, Kenney said of the live rounds that killed Hutchins and wounded Rust director Joel Souza that “it’s not a possibility that they came from PDQ or from myself personally.”

Previous search warrants executed by the police at the Bonanza Creek Ranch set have found a number of weapons and, according to Sheriff Adan Mendoza, “500 rounds of ammunition … a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what we are suspecting are live rounds.”

Police may have found tons of ammo on Rust, but they have still yet to get their hands on Baldwin’s cell phone, which they have been requesting for weeks.

In a January 8 post on Instagram, the Empire State-based Emmy winner reiterated his lawyers emphasis that he is complying with the New Mexico cops request, but there are privacy and jurisdictional concerns, so to say. “They can’t just go through your phone and take your photos, or your love letters to your wife, or what have you,” Baldwin said to his phone camera. “Any suggestion that I am not complying with requests or orders or demands or search warrants about my phone, that’s bullshit, that’s a lie,” he added.

 

 

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2022/01/alec-baldwin-shooting-rust-armorer-lawsuit-hannah-gutierrez-reed-fatal-live-rounds-1234909565/