The possibility of sabotage on the set of “Rust” is being floated by the attorneys for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer for the film.
Last month, actor Alec Baldwin fired a gun that contained a live round and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. As the armorer, whose job it was to supervise the weapons used in filming the western, Gutierrez-Reed has been a focus of investigators.
During an interview on NBC’s “Today,” Jason Bowles, an attorney for Gutierrez-Reed, suggested how the round got into the gun, noting that live rounds were not supposed to be allowed on the set.
“How did a live round get on set, and who put that on the set?” Bowles asked rhetorically.
“There was a box of dummy rounds labeled ‘dummy,'” he added. “We don’t know whether the live round came from that box. We’re assuming somebody put the live round in that box.”
Bowles offered no evidence but suggested a motive, according to “Today.”
“I believe that somebody who would do that would want to sabotage the set, want to prove point, want to say that they’re disgruntled, they’re unhappy,” Bowles said. “And we know that people had walked off the set the day before.”
Asked if he suspected a crew member, Bowles said, “I think you can’t rule anybody out at this point.”
“We know there was a live round in a box of dummy rounds that shouldn’t have been there,” he went on.
“We have people who had left the set, who had walked out because they were disgruntled. We have a time frame between 11 [a.m.] and 1 [p.m.], approximately, that day, in which the firearms at times were unattended, so there was opportunity to tamper with this scene,” he said.
Robert Gorence, another attorney for Gutierrez-Reed, said all ammunition was in a truck “that was completely unattended at all times, giving someone access and opportunity.”
Bowles said the gun was loaded with six dummy rounds by Gutierrez-Reed, who took the rounds from a box labeled “dummies,” The New York Times reported.
Gorence said the gun was unattended at some point after Gutierrez-Reed loaded it. All told, three guns were prepared that day.
“Was there a duty to safeguard them 24/7?” Gorence said. “The answer is no, because there were no live rounds.”
An affidavit released by the Santa Fe County sheriff’s office said the guns were in a safe in the prop truck during the crew’s lunch break. Sarah Zachry of the prop department gave the guns to Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer told investigators.
Bowles said Gutierrez-Reed spun the gun’s cylinder and showed assistant director Dave Halls the six rounds inside. She did not go inside a church where the scene was being rehearsed.
“Hannah thinks the gun is secured,” Bowles said. “So she goes and does her prop duties.”
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