'Rust' Tragic Shooting's Live Round Might Have Been Left by Previous Movie Team - Report
© AP Photo / Jae C. HongThis aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021.
© AP Photo / Jae C. Hong
The October 21 accidental shooting took the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured Rust director Joel Souza due to a live round being loaded into a prop gun used on film production. The Santa Fe County Sheriff revealed late last month that there was "some complacency" in the handling of guns on the movie set.
The deadly live pistol round shot by Alec Baldwin on the set of "Rust" may have been left in the gun from a prior film shooting, The Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday.
According to the report, citing a search warrant authorized by a judge, New Mexico investigators reported the changes in the case as they requested permission to search PDQ Arm & Prop, LLC, an ammo store in an Albuquerque strip mall that supplied props for the ill-fated Western.
The prop truck was reportedly searched on October 27 after investigators discovered "additional ammunition collected of which some are suspect live ammunition." Sheriff's wrote that PDQ Arm & Prop's Seth Kenney unlocked the truck.
According to the warrant, Kenney told detectives the ammo included "dummy rounds and blanks" from Starline Brass, a company that only sells bullet components, not live rounds. The lethal bullet, on the other hand, was branded with the Starline Brass emblem, which Kenney later explained to authorities could have been because "he received ‘reloaded ammunition' from a friend," or actual munitions created from innocuous components, according to police.
Thell Reed, the father of "Rust" armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was allegedly responsible for the gun that day, verified Kenney's apparent fondness for live ammunition, according to the report.
During the summer, Reed said he worked as an advisor on a different project with Kenney.
"Seth requested he bring live ammunition in the event they ran out of what was supplied," Reed told investigators, saying that he also carried 200-300 live rounds in a container of ammo.
In the affidavit, the investigators reportedly wrote that Reed claimed "he still had the can with the .45 caliber colt ammunition in it, and after several attempts to get it back from Seth, Seth advised Thell to ‘write it off.'"
"Thell stated this ammunition might match the ammunition found on the set of Rust," they reportedly noted.
At this point in the investigation, criminal charges have not been ruled out.
11 November 2021, 00:13 GMT
Meanwhile, Hannah Gutierrez Reed reportedly told sheriff's investigators that she had problems loading the weapon that day, just hours before Baldwin fired the fatal live round.
According to the report, Gutierrez-Reed told investigators that she and prop master Sarah Zachry loaded five dummy rounds into the long barrel Colt.45 before lunch on the day of the incident, but one bullet would not go in, so she cleaned "it" out and reloaded it after lunch.
According to the warrant, she said "she didn’t really check it too much" before putting the final round in because the gun had been locked throughout the break.
"Hannah stated there was one round that wouldn’t go in, so after lunch she took the cleaner, cleaned ‘it’ out, and put another round in, which brought the total to six rounds loaded into the weapon," the document reportedly reads.