‘Rust’ Armorer Shocked by Live Ammo on Set, Says Supplier ‘Was Acting Weird’ as Defense Racks Up Sabotage Theory

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“Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed repeatedly expressed shock that investigators found more live rounds of ammunition on the ill-fated Western set during a 2021 interrogation video shown in court Wednesday, at one point suggesting to detectives that someone may have placed them intentionally to “sabotage” her.

During live testimony later Wednesday, her lawyer Jason Bowles hinted during questioning of an investigator that the defense will further explore the theory – which he first floated during early TV interviews – that someone may have intentionally mixed live ammunition in with boxes of “dummy” rounds to undermine the young armorer after a camera crew walked off in protest.

Gutierrez-Reed faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering, with a potential prison sentence of up to three years. The trial began last week in New Mexico before a jury that will determine whether she bears responsibility in the accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on October 21, 2021.

Wednesday’s morning session consisted mostly of prosecutors showing extended video from Gutierrez-Reed – with Bowles present – during a Nov. 9, 2021, on-the-record interview with investigators, including Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Officer Alexandria Hancock.

During the lengthy exchange, Hancock tells Gutierrez-Reed that the box of “dummy”-labeled ammo from which she apparently loaded the fatal round also contained other rounds that tested “live.”

An audibly stunned Gutierrez-Reed repeatedly uses expletives to express shock and denies that she brought live rounds to the set for target practice or any other purpose. She then name drops Seth Kenney, the owner-operator of PDQ Arm and Prop, whom she would sue in a 2022 civil action (the lawsuit is apparently still pending).

“Honestly, I’m not sure [why there was a mixed box],” she tells investigators. “I would say right now, Seth [Kenney] supplies all the boxes. I don’t want to speculate, but he’s also been acting pretty weird toward me personally. We had a whole-ass argument, and we weren’t talking during this whole incident.”

Though Kenney was not on the set, one of his employees, prop master Sarah Zachary, was. The prosecuting attorney asked Hancock whether Gutierrez-Reed was ever “insinuating” that Zachary “planted that box of ammunition.”

“Yes,” Hancock replied from the witness box.

“Did you ever find any evidence to support that?” the prosecutor asked.

“No,” Hancock answered.

During his cross-examination of Hancock, Bowles suggested that in the days immediately following the deadly accident, Kenney had access to a safe where ammunition was stored, which the detective confirmed. He also asked Hancock whether Kenney was “pushing” the story that Gutierrez-Reed was responsible for bringing live rounds to the set; she indicated that he was simply trying to “give information” to investigators.

Hancock also testified that there was never any evidence found to support rumors that Gutierrez-Reed had been “plinking,” or shooting practice target arounds, on our around the set – which she denied in her interview with detectives. Bowles asked whether Kenney’s fingerprints, DNA or phone records were ever taken – and she said they had not.

Back on the stand in the afternoon, Hancock told the court that she found “no evidence” that Kenney had supplied the “mixed” box of ammunition – and stopped pursuing that line of inquiry despite pressure from Bowles and Thell Reed, Gutierrez-Reed’s stepfather and a top Hollywood armorer.

During opening statements last week, state prosecutor Jason Lewis asserted that Gutierrez-Reed’s “unprofessional and sloppy” conduct was a contributing factor. Lewis said Gutierrez-Reed failed twice to properly check ammunition loaded into the gun wielded that October day by Alec Baldwin, who is expected to also stand trial later this summer on separate manslaughter charges.

Gutierrez-Reed’s defense lawyers laid the blame on Baldwin. It was Baldwin, the lawyer argued, who “really controlled the set” and also called the armorer “an easy target – the least powerful person on that set.”

The trial, expected to last at least two weeks, will feature several key witnesses, including director Joel Souza and David Halls, the first assistant director.

The post ‘Rust’ Armorer Shocked by Live Ammo on Set, Says Supplier ‘Was Acting Weird’ as Defense Racks Up Sabotage Theory appeared first on TheWrap.