Santa Fe, NM – At attorney representing the armorer who worked on the set of “Rust” said he thinks someone could have intentionally slipped a live round into a box of “dummy” ammunition in an effort to sabotage the film, ultimately resulting in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
The term “cold gun” is supposed to be used when referring to a firearm not containing any live ammunition, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office (SFCSO) said in an application for a warrant to search the film set.
The gun Halls gave to Baldwin was one of three firearms the movie’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, had placed in a cart for use in the “Rust” movie, CNN reported.
Baldwin was practicing with the gun when the deadly shooting occurred, NBC News reported.
“Joel [Souza] stated they had Alec sitting in a pew in a church building setting, and he was practicing a cross draw,” the affidavit read. “Joel said he was looking over the shoulder of Halayna, when he heard what sounded like a whip and then loud pop.”
According to the warrant, Souza, the film’s director, said Hutchins immediately began “complaining about her stomach and grabbing her midsection,” NBC News reported.
“Joel also said Halayna began to stumble backwards and she was assisted to the ground,” investigators said in the filing. “Joel explained that he was bleeding from his shoulder and he could see blood on Halayna.”
Hutchins, 42, had been shot in the chest, and Souza, 48, was shot in his right shoulder, according to court documents.
Hutchins was rushed to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where she succumbed to her wounds, the SFCSO confirmed.
She leaves behind her husband and her nine-year-old son, CNN reported.
Souza was transported to St. Vincent Medical Center and is continuing to recover.
During an interview with NBC News on Wednesday, Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys, Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence, discussed what they believe may have happened that day.
“How did a live round get on set, and who put that live round on the set?” Bowles said. “There was a box of dummy rounds labeled ‘dummy.’ We don’t know whether the live round came from that box. We’re assuming somebody put the live round in that box.”
Bowles did not provide evidence to support his theory, but noted that frustrated crew members had walked off the set prior to the fatal shooting, NBC News reported.
The crew members allegedly walked out due to concerns about the lack of safety on the set.
Bowles said it is possible that someone wanted “to sabotage the set” in order “to prove a point” that they were “disgruntled” and “unhappy.”
That person could have placed one or more live rounds into the box of blanks, he suggested.
Gutierrez-Reed was both the armorer and the assistant prop master for the film.
She said she left the weapon unsupervised for two hours while she went on a lunch break and performed her props assistant duties, NBC News reported.
“Hannah was hired on two positions on this film, which made it extremely difficult to focus on her job as an armorer,” her attorneys said in a recent statement. “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.”
Veteran prop master Neal Zoromski told Today during an interview that he previously turned down a job offer to work on Baldwin’s “Rust” feature because he “felt it was completely unsafe.”
Zoromski said he was particularly concerned by the fact that producers combined the jobs of the armorer and the assistant prop master into a single position for the movie.
“I impressed upon them that there were great concerns about that, and they didn’t really respond to my concerns about that,” he told Today.
But according to NBC News, sources within the production said it is not unusual for an armorer to also serve as a member of a prop team.
They further noted Gutierrez-Reed was never asked to handle weapon and prop duties on the same day, and said she only worked in props for two days, NBC News reported.
The incident remains under investigation, and no charges have been filed.