(Updated with Alec Baldwin lawyer statement) More than two weeks after the final police report on the fatal shooting of Rust DP Halyna Hutchins by Alec Baldwin last October was handed over to the local DA, the document has been made public.
Amidst a dense listing of events and inventory from local police, the FBI and others, the 551-page report (Read it here) reveals a set in chaos even before the shooting of Hutchins on Oct. 21, 2021.
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Ross Addiego, a dolly grip who was present when the tragic incident took place and heard armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed saying that the prop gun was clear, details that there were issues with her in the previous week. Per the dolly grip, Gutierrez-Reed and her crew had issues that involved “negligent discharges”. The armorer was preparing one of six guns and one of the revolvers went off toward her foot. A few minutes later at the cabin set, a discharged gun went off that wasn’t announced, which would have been assistant director Dave Halls’ responsibility to announce, per Addiego.
Addiego also mentioned six camera men walked off set on the day of the incident, and that the head of the Camera Department, Lane Luper, wrote a letter to production about mishaps.
Reese Price, a key grip who was eight feet behind Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza in the church (the filmmaker receiving a shoulder blow from the discharged prop gun) said that the prior issues on the production entailed an “accidental discharge” occurring “twice last week all in one day. One of the accidental discharges occurred by ‘armorer girl’ who was messing with a gun. The ‘armorer girl’ had the gun pointed down, when it went off accidentally. The second time, one of the stunt actors went to cock the gun and it went off accidentally inside a shack. Reese expressed his concern about accidental discharges occurring on this particular set, which is something that is not supposed to happen” read the police report.
“Reese was upset at the fact that the production was not housing workers who lived an hour away. Reese indicated that he was working 14-hour days and his main concern was someone crashing on the way home after a long day of work. Reese informed me the production was low budget and was set for 21 days. The budget for this film was 7 million dollars which is considered a tier one film. Another concern brought up was the production ‘cutting corners’ to just complete the movie” read investigator J. Cano’s interview with Price.
John Ziello, the key rigging grip, when asked by Cano if there were prior issues on set, told cops “protocols were not followed during the entire film. John said the production cut every corner they could.”
Upon arriving to set to assess the situation on that October day, investigator T. Benavidez located Gutierrez-Reed with “a handgun in her left hand with the muzzle pointing down. I observed Hanna to be emotional and at this time, I took custody of the handgun.” The investigator explains that the armorer was “very emotional and getting more agitated because of the incident”. She was placed in the rear of a police car, “with the side rear door open and the vehicle locked.” The investigator asked the armorer if there were other weapons and she pointed to an area where he located two other handguns, ammunition, spent and intact rounds. There were two white boxes labeled colt .45 rounds. “Hanna pointed out one box which was half filled with ammunition and said ‘those are the rounds used today.'” The investigator took all of equipment into custody.
Cano also reports that the Oscar-nominated actor Baldwin was asked to give a statement. “I’ll do whatever you tell me to do,” Baldwin told him, and was directed to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.
Cano, in his interview with Sarah Zachry, the production’s prop master said “she personally believed Hannah might have messed up when she was checking the ‘dummy rounds’.” Zachry explained to the cops that the armorer is supposed to rattle one dummy round at a time. However, if you rattle two, “you won’t know which one is rattling.” Dummy rounds are noticeable since they have beads in them. “Sarah thinks Hannah might have had two ‘dummy rounds’ in one hand and the rattling was coming from only one ‘dummy round'” reads Cano’s interview.
Matthew J. Hemmer, the assistant chief lighting technician, was outside the church when the incident occurred, and told Cano that Gutierrez-Reed wasn’t certified as an armorer; and wasn’t union. “When asked if there has been any prior issues on set, Matthew said Hannah was having issues with a Colt .45 and Hannah asked for his assistance. Matthew indicated the weapons were in poor shape although, Hannah did try her best in keeping them clean. When asked if there should ever be live ammunition on set, he said there should never be ‘live rounds’ on set.”
Souza, in his interview with Cano, counters that there was no negligence on the set and that he thought an armorer wouldn’t intermingle live rounds with blanks. “Joel thinks it was a mistake or thinks there was a round already in the gun.” Souza also told Cano there was no hostility on the set. “Joel began talking about the camera crew walking off set, saying as they were leaving, they shook hands and hugged goodbye. Joel explained that when the old camera crew arrived to gather their equipment that morning, they acted very professionally.”
After over a year, the Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies has yet to charge anyone in the Rust tragedy.
However, Baldwin’s main attorney had something to say today after the report was made public.
“Mr. Baldwin fully cooperated with the investigation and turned over his phone with all records, including all records from the day of the incident, to the Suffolk County Police,” said Luke Nikas. “The Suffolk County Police then reviewed those records and turned them over directly to the Santa Fe County Sheriff, unless the records reflected privileged communications or were irrelevant to the Rust movie,” added the Quinn Emanuel. lawyer. “The email referenced is irrelevant to this matter. Mr. Baldwin was referring to his Twitter archive, which he has long considered deleting. He fully preserved all records related to Rust and turned them over to the authorities nearly a year ago.”
The D.A.’s office had no comment Friday in response to the report, nor did a rep for the Rust producers. We hear separately from sources that no charges are expected to come down before the Thanksgiving holiday. Deadline has also reached out to the attorneys of Gutierrez-Reed regarding the release of today’s investigation report but have been informed they are still reviewing the document.
“As with all cases that the District Attorney handles, her focus will be on upholding the integrity of the process, enforcing the laws of the state of New Mexico, and pursuing justice,” said a rep for the DA at the time when their office received the police report 23 days ago.
An Aug. 30 letter from Carmack-Altwies to the New Mexico State Finance Board indicated that the DA intended to name Baldwin as “one of the possible defendants” in the Rust tragedy. The DA was seeking $635K from the state to prosecute as many as four individuals, however, she only received $317,750.
Meanwhile, the Hutchins’ estate settled with Rust producers and Baldwin a pending civil suit with an agreement that Rust would get finished as a film, and Hutchins’ husband, Matt Hutchins, an EP on the film. Reports indicated late October that Rust would not return to New Mexico to finish production, but was eyeing a location shoot here in California.
Baldwin filed a civil suit against Gutierrez-Reed, Halls, and property master Zachry, and weapons and rounds supplier Seth Kenney on Nov. 11.
“This tragedy happened because live bullets were delivered to the set and loaded into the gun, Gutierrez-Reed failed to check the bullets or the gun carefully, Halls failed to check the gun carefully and yet announced the gun was safe before handing it to Baldwin, and Zachry failed to disclose that Gutierrez-Reed had been acting recklessly off set and was a safety risk to those around her,” read the cross complaint from Baldwin’s Quinn Emanuel attorney Luke Nikas.
“Baldwin has also lost numerous job opportunities and associated income,” the complaint continued. “For example, he’s been fired from multiple jobs expressly because of the incident on Rust and has been passed over for other opportunities, which is a direct result of the negligence of Cross-Defendants Gutierrez-Reed, Halls, Kenney, PDQ, and Zachry.”
Baldwin was originally expected to star in the indie spy action pic Chief of Station, however, stepped out with Aaron Eckhart taking over his lead role, as Deadline first reported.
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