24-year-old Who Prepared Fatal Prop Gun for Baldwin Was Worried She ‘Wasn’t Ready’ for Armourer Job
On the set of upcoming western movie "Rust," Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun which had been declared safe by the assistant director yet contained live ammunition, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza on 21 October 2021.
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the 24-year-old head armourer
on the set of the film “Rust,” admitted she wasn't ready for the job before Alec Baldwin tragically killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza with a prop gun, reports The Daily Mail.
“I almost didn't take the job because I wasn't sure if I was ready, but doing it, it went really smoothly,” Gutierrez-Reed was cited as saying in an interview with the Voices of the West in September.
Earlier, a call sheet from the set of "Rust
," filmed at Bonanza Creek Ranch, Santa Fe and set in 1880's Kansas, identified Gutierrez-Reed as the armourer who prepared the prop guns on the set of the film, which Baldwin was producing and starring in, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Gutierrez-Reed reportedly said her father started teaching her about guns when she was 16. She also referred to her work on the film "The Old Way," starring Nicolas Cage, as the first time she headed up a firearms department – and the start of a “long” career.
She confessed that loading blanks into a gun was “the scariest” thing for her. According to Gutierrez-Reed, her father, gunsmith and veteran armorer Thell Reed, helped her overcome her initial fears.
Reed, 78, is an exhibition shooter specialising in fast draw and a gun consultant to the movie industry. Gutierrez-Reed is reported to have worked as an armourer for the Yellowstone Film Ranch film studio between March and June 2021, before filming for "Rust" launched in October.
Fatal Prop Gun
According to a search warrant released on 22 October and cited by media outlets, Gutierrez-Reed had laid out three prop guns on a cart. Veteran assistant director Dave Halls, who has scores of credits on productions involving prop guns, including "Fargo" and "The Matrix Reloaded," took the gun, described as a a vintage-style Colt revolver, from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin. The scene being filmed at the time was in an Old West-style church.
Halls was apparently unaware
that the prop weapon was loaded with live rounds and shouted “cold gun,” a phrase signalling that it was safe to fire for the scene, stated the warrant. Seconds later, Baldwin reportedly aimed the weapon at the camera and pulled the trigger.
According to the warrant, the bullet struck Hutchins in the chest, and then struck director Souza, who was standing behind her, in the shoulder. The Santa Fe County sheriff’s office said on Friday afternoon that the investigation into Thursday’s incident was “active and ongoing.”
Baldwin issued a statement after the incident to convey his “shock and sadness” over the tragic incident and confirming that he was cooperating with the police investigation. A statement quoted by Deadline, Rust Movie Productions, LLC, said that an internal investigation into Thursday's shooting is underway.
"The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company. Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down. We will continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and offer mental health services to the cast and crew during this tragic time," the statement said.