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Legal Team For Set Armorer In Alec Baldwin Rust Shooting Theorize Live Bullet Could Have Been Placed Intentionally

Alec Baldwin in Mission: Impossible: Fallout
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

The fatal accident on the set of the movie Rust has been a major topic of conversation in the two weeks since it occurred. Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun that included a live round, which resulted in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Afterward the question became how did such an accident take place? Now lawyers for Rust’s armorer are theorizing that this could have been intentional sabotage.

Before Alec Baldwin was handed the prop gun that fired the fatal shot, the gun went through the hands of both Rust’s assistant director and the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. Appearing on Today, attorney Jason Bowles admitted that his client was the one who loaded the prop gun, but says that she did so from a box of known “dummy” rounds, and that a live round ended up in that box, because somebody put it there. According to Bowles... 

There was a box of dummy rounds, and the box was labeled ‘dummy.’ Hannah did take from that box, which she by all accounts should have been able to rely on. That contains only dummy rounds. She loaded rounds from that box to the handgun. Only later to find out, and she had no idea, she inspected the rounds, but there was a live round. Now we don’t know, however, whether that live round came from that box. We’re assuming it did, we’re assuming someone put the live round in that box.

The lawyers for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are very clearly suggesting that some individual intentionally caused this event. While they say they are “assuming” the live round came from the box of dummy rounds, that still leaves open the possibility that it did not, implying that somebody else tampered with the gun after it left the hands of the on-set armorer.

But even if the live round was inadvertently loaded by Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, that must have happened, according to the lawyers, because some individual put a live round in the box of dummy rounds, with a specific purpose in mind. Bowles continued... 

Which, if you think of that, the person who put the live round in the box of dummy rounds had to have the purpose of sabotaging this set. There’s no other reason you would do that, where you’d mix the live round with the dummy round.

As far as why somebody would have done such a thing, Jason Bowles suggested that crew members on the set of Rust may have been disgruntled and trying to “prove a point.” There have been reports that some had walked off the set prior to the accident due to issues with working conditions

While the lawyers stopped short of calling other crew members suspects, it was specified that the prop ammunition was left unattended for approximately two hours on the day of the accident, giving others potential opportunity to tamper with it. 

This certainly puts a new wrinkle in this case. Previously, most had seen this as a terrible accident, and the only question was how the accident happened. Now there is a claim that this may have been no accident at all.  

Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.