‘Rust’ Armorer’s Dad Provides New Theory on How Live Round Ended Up in Alec Baldwin’s Gun

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Prop Firearm Movie Set - Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP
Prop Firearm Movie Set - Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP

Investigators are probing a new theory — provided by the dad of the production’s rookie armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed — about how a live round ended up in the prop gun that actor Alec Baldwin fired in a deadly accident on the set of Rust six weeks ago, according to a new search warrant.

Thell Reed allegedly told investigators that back in August and September, he worked on a different movie near the Rust set in New Mexico with another armorer named Seth Kenny, according to new search warrant paperwork released Tuesday by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office and obtained by Rolling Stone.

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“Thell advised that during the production, there was training provided to the actors for live fire with firearms conducted on a firearms range,” the warrant states. “Thell said that at this time, Seth requested he bring live ammunition in the event they ran out of what was supplied. Thell stated he did bring an ‘ammo can’ with live ammunition from a friend, and this ammunition was not factory-made rounds. He advised there (were) approximately 200-300 rounds in the can and described the can to be green in color.”

The dad said after the production ended, Kenny retained the ammo can, which contained .45 caliber Colt bullets. The prop gun that Baldwin fired on set, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on Oct. 21, was a .45 Colt revolver.

Sarah Zachry, the prop master on Rust, told police the day of the shooting that the prop ammunition for the movie was procured from various sources including Kenny, the new paperwork alleges.

Thell Reed purportedly told investigators he suspects the live round that ended up in Baldwin’s prop will be a match for the the live ammo that Kenny told him to “write off” when he attempted to get it back. Investigators sought the new warrant to search Kenny’s offices at PDQ Arm & Prop LLC in Albuquerque.

“The Sheriff’s Office has taken a huge step forward today to unearth the full truth of who put the live rounds on the Rust set by executing a search warrant on PDQ Arm & Prop, owned by armorer-mentor Seth Kenney,” Jason Bowles, the lawyer for Gutierrez-Reed, said in a statement to Rolling Stone.

“We trust that the FBI will now compare and analyze the ‘live rounds’ seized from the set to evidence seized in the search warrant to conclusively determine where the live rounds came from,” he said. “The questions of who introduced the live rounds onto the set and why are the central questions in the case.”

Gutierrez-Reed and her lawyer previously said she never knowingly allowed any live rounds on the set of the ill-fated western movie that was filming at Bonanza Creek Ranch.

Prior search warrants citing witness interviews have claimed Gutierrez-Reed handed the Colt revolver in question to assistant director Dave Halls, who announced the weapon was “cold” (meaning not loaded), before passing it to Baldwin.

Baldwin is now the subject of two lawsuits filed by crew members Serge Svetnoy and Mamie Mitchell, who were in the small wooden church on set at the time he fired the weapon. Both claim he bore responsibility in the deadly accident because he pulled the trigger when it wasn’t called for after failing to check the weapon for live rounds himself.

Baldwin has expressed shock and sadness at the death of Hutchins and is cooperating with the investigation, officials said.

Speaking to investigators a week after the shooting, Kenny gave a competing theory of where the ammunition came from, according to the search warrant released Tuesday. “Seth described how a couple years back, he received ‘reloaded ammunition’ from a friend,” it said without further elaboration.

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