A week after actor Alec Baldwin shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie “Rust,” many have pointed the blame at the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed.
Amid reports about her previous experiences and questions about her possible responsibility for the shooting, Gutierrez Reed responded on Thursday night to what her legal team called “untruths that have been told to the media,” according to Fox News.
Her attorneys said in a statement that the 24-year-old armorer does not know where the live rounds fired by Baldwin came from.
“Safety is Hannah’s number one priority on set. Ultimately this set would never have been compromised if live ammo were not introduced. Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from,” the attorneys said, according to the report.
They went on to say that Gutierrez Reed has never had a firearm accidentally discharge on set and the discharges that happened on “Rust” were not her fault.
“The first one on this set was the prop master and the second one was a stunt man after Hannah informed him his gun was hot with blanks,” the attorneys said.
Gutierrez Reed has faced a flurry of criticism since the unfortunate accident. Particularly, a crew member from Nicolas Cage’s “The Old Way” told CNN that she had mishandled weapons on that set. That was her first gig as a lead armorer for a movie.
“There’s a universal way to handle weapons on set and immediately red flags went up when I worked with Hannah. This is why I asked for her dismissal,” said Stu Brumbaugh, the key grip on the set of “The Old Way.”
However, Gutierrez Reed’s attorneys shifted the blame away from her, saying the producers hired her for two jobs on set, which left her unable to completely focus on her job as an armorer. They also said time and resources were not properly allotted for safety.
“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 attorneys said.
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No one has been charged in the fatal shooting, and Mary Carmack-Altwies, district attorney of Santa Fe County, New Mexico, has highlighted the complexity of the situation.
“We don’t know how those live rounds got there,” she told CNN. “And I think that that will probably end up being kind of the linchpin for whether a decision is made about charges.”
There might not be any clear-cut answers in this case. It will be difficult, maybe even impossible, to definitively plant all the blame on just one person.
Many have been quick to fault Baldwin, who has a history of anti-gun rhetoric that includes taunts about accidental shootings. And it’s true that the tragedy on set would have been avoided if the actor had followed basic rules of firearm safety, including treating all guns as if they are loaded.
However, Gutierrez Reed’s role cannot be ignored.
Sure, it’s understandable that she might have been stretched thin on set and her focus divided. But handling weapons is the greatest responsibility, no matter what else was being asked of her.
The producers certainly bear some responsibility since they are the leaders, but Gutierrez Reed was hired and paid to keep people safe.
While there is a lot happening on set and it’s not completely unreasonable for her to have not realized there was live ammo on set, she should have been double, triple, even quadruple checking every firearm. When death is possible, there is never too much precaution.
According to Insider, Gutierrez Reed had said last month that guns are “not really problematic unless put in the wrong hands.”
Wrong. Accidents can and do happen. But Gutierrez Reed’s job was to keep accidents from happening, and she failed.
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