Attorneys representing Hannah Gutierrez-Reed released a statement with the armorer saying a number of factors made the set “unsafe.”
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer on the tragedy-stricken production Rust, released a statement through her lawyers saying she had “no idea where the live rounds came from” that were recovered by the Santa Fe County sheriff in their investigation into the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and that the whole production was “unsafe.”
In a statement obtained Friday by The Hollywood Reporter, attorneys Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence said their client Gutierrez-Reed was “devastated and completely beside herself over the events that have transpired” on the set of Rust and that she was keen to address media reports that have “falsely portrayed her.”
Crucially, Gutierrez-Reed says she has “no idea where the live rounds came from” and that “she never witnessed anyone shoot live rounds with these guns and nor would she permit that.” She also claims that the firearms were locked up “every night and at lunch and there’s no way a single one of them was unaccounted for or being shot by crew members.”
The lawyers said Gutierrez-Reed was hired for two positions on the Rust production, making it difficult to focus on her job as an armorer, and that she “fought for training, days to maintain weapons and proper time to prepare for gunfire but ultimately was overruled by production and her department.”
Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Juan Rios told THR on Thursday that the three people who handled the suspected gun prior to the deadly Rust shooting are now the “primary focus” of the ongoing investigation. Gutierrez-Reed, assistant director Dave Halls and star-producer Alec Baldwin all handled a Colt .45 revolver prior to Hutchins being fatally shot Oct. 21 on the set near Santa Fe, N.M.
In a media conference on Wednesday, Mendoza said among the evidence collected from the set of the Western in Santa Fe, New Mexico were three guns — one a plastic, non-functioning firearm — and 500 rounds of ammunition, including blanks, dummy rounds and suspected live rounds.
In a third search warrant application filed Wednesday, authorities wrote that Gutierrez-Reed told an investigator that no “live ammo” is ever kept on set. However, while speaking to Today‘s Savannah Guthrie on Thursday, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said that was “not an accurate statement” because “it was a live round that struck and killed Ms. Hutchins.”
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According to the warrant application, Halls told the detective that normally when handling guns on set, “I check the barrel for obstructions, most of the time there’s no live fire, she [Hannah] opens the hatch and spins the drum, and I say cold gun on set.” However, before the rehearsal when Hutchins and Souza were shot, Halls said he could remember seeing only three rounds. “He advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t remember if she spun the drum,” the warrant application reads.
In a previous search warrant application filed last week, a sheriff’s department detective wrote it was Halls who handed the gun to Baldwin, announcing, “cold gun” — aka not loaded. Baldwin discharged the weapon during the rehearsal, also injuring director Joel Souza, authorities said.
Halls has yet to issue a public statement. Gutierrez-Reed’s first statement comes a week after Baldwin issued his own over Twitter. “There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours,” Baldwin wrote.
The Santa Fe County district attorney’s office and sheriff’s office have said the investigation could take several months. Mendoza said during the Wednesday press conference that it’s still too early to comment on charges but that arrests will be made if warranted.