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Rust's Armorer Responds To Blame Over Fatal Shooting

Alec Baldwin as Robert Henderson in Dr. Death
(Image credit: Universal Content Productions)

After the tragic incident on the set of the Western film Rust that claimed the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, many have wondered who was to blame for the accident. While star Alec Baldwin originally fired the prop gun, he had no idea the pistol contained any "suspected live rounds," as the authorities have put it. Some people have pointed fingers at Rust’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was theoretically supposed to be responsible for gun safety on set. Now the young weapons handler is speaking out. 

One week after the death of Halyna Hutchins, 24-year-old Hannah Gutierriez-Reed’s lawyers have released a statement that details her alleged innocence. According to TMZ, Gutierrez-Reed claims that the prop guns were supposed to be empty at the time of the shooting, and that she had not put live ammo into any of the weapons. Her lawyers’ statement reads:

[Hannah] is devastated and completely beside herself over the events that have transpired. Safety is Hannah's number one priority on the set. Ultimately this set would never have been compromised if live ammo were not introduced. Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed had told the police that all weapons were put under lockdown when filming was not in progress. It is unknown why Alec Baldwin had access to a prop gun, considering the fact that he was not participating in a scene at the time of the shooting. Despite her job description, Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys have redirected the blame from the Rust armorer to the producers of the film. They are arguing that Hannah Gutierrez-Reed had attempted to fulfill all safety requirements, but was unable to complete them due to her overloaded work schedule. They said: 

Hannah was hired on two positions on this film, which made it extremely difficult to focus on her job as an armorer...She fought for training, days to maintain weapons and proper time to prepare for gunfire but ultimately was overruled by production and her department. The whole production set became unsafe due to various factors, including lack of safety meetings.

Apparently, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was hired as both a weapons handler and a key props assistant. Her attorneys are implying that the production team had wanted to save money by cutting corners on safety measures and other necessary procedures, thereby placing an excessive amount of work on Gutierrez-Reed’s shoulders. Their statement recognized the occurrence of two previous misfires on set, but held that Gutierrez-Reed wasn’t involved in either scenario. 

At this time, the authorities have not filed any charges against Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, Alec Baldwin or any member of the production team of Rust. Filming has been suspended indefinitely. For more updates as this story develops, be sure to check back here on CinemaBlend. 

Rachel Romean

Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.