The woman in charge of firearms on the set of the film Rust, where a deadly October shooting left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead, is blaming the movie’s ammunition supplier for the fatal accident.
Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armorer and key props assistant on Rust, filed a lawsuit in New Mexico state court on Wednesday saying the production bought live ammunition that she believed to be dummy rounds.
The complaint names PDQ Arm and Prop and founder and managing member Seth Kenney as defendants.
“Hannah relied upon and trusted that Defendants would only supply dummy prop ammunition, or blanks, and no live rounds were ever to be on set,” the lawsuit reads.
Countless questions remain about the deadly on-set shooting, which also injured director Joel Souza and rekindled the debate over safety protocols in the film industry.
Actor Alec Baldwin, who was holding the gun when the fatal shot was fired, later said in interviews that he was told he had a “cold gun,” which meant the firearm was empty or only contained dummy rounds. He said he never pulled the trigger.
According to the lawsuit, Gutierrez Reed arrived on set Oct. 21, the day of the shooting, to find a box labeled “dummy rounds .45 LC.” She said it was supplied by Kenney and PDQ. Unbeknownst to her, at least some of those bullets were in fact live rounds, the suit says.
NPR was unable to reach PDQ Arm and Prop for comment
Gutierrez Reed also said that, in the minutes before the shooting, she left the church where filming was taking place to comply with COVID-19 protocols and to attend to other props. She said she didn’t know Baldwin was inside rehearsing drawing his gun.
Gutierrez Reed said that if she were in the church at the time, she would have told Baldwin not to point the gun at Hutchins, a typical safety measure for the use of guns on film sets.
In a December interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Baldwin said he wasn’t at fault in the shooting and that he was following Hutchins’ instructions about where to aim the gun when the fatal shot was fired.
“I cock the gun. I go, ‘Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?’ ” Baldwin said. “And then I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun goes off.”
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, which issued a search warrant for Baldwin’s phone on Dec. 16, said on Thursday that the phone still had not been turned over to authorities.
A version of this story originally appeared in the Morning Edition live blog.