Live bullets on Rust set may have been recycled ammo - court documents

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Alec Baldwin.
Alec Baldwin.
Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
  • Investigations continue into the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie Rust .
  • New court documents reveal recycled live ammunition may have made its way into a stash of dummy bullets on the set in New Mexico.
  • Further, armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed says "didn't really check it [the gun] too much" because it had been locked before the fatal shooting.

Authorities investigating the fatal shooting on the Rust movie last month are investigating whether recycled live ammunition may have made its way into a stash of dummy bullets on the set in New Mexico, according to court documents released on Tuesday.

The documents include a search warrant for the premises of a local supplier of ammunition and movie props.

The supplier told police he suspected that the live bullets found on the set may have been "reloaded ammunition" that he got previously from a friend. Reloaded ammunition is made up of recycled components, including bullets.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was wounded when a gun that actor Alec Baldwin had been told was safe fired off a live bullet during a rehearsal on 21 October.

Further, AFP reports, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, armorer on the low-budget Western, spoke to investigators as they probed how live rounds ended up on the New Mexico film set last month, leading to the death of Halyna Hutchins. According to an affidavit released Tuesday, Gutierrez-Reed told police she had loaded the Colt .45 with five dummy rounds before a lunch break.

After lunch, the weapon was retrieved from a safe, and Gutierrez-Reed added a final round before handing it to another crew member. Moments later, she heard a gun shot from inside the set.

Gutierrez-Reed said she "didn't really check it too much" because the weapon had been locked up at lunch.

"We had the gun the whole time before that, and nothing happened, and I wasn't in there, and they weren't even supposed to be pulling the hammer back," she added.

Police seized more than 500 rounds of ammunition from the set, which they believed to be a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and some suspected live ammunition.

So the key question remains how a live bullet, rather than a blank, ended up in the gun.

No criminal charges have been filed.

The newly released documents said Santa Fe sheriff's deputies had spoken with Seth Kenny, who supplied some of the ammunition for Rust, and who "advised he may know where the live rounds came from."

"Seth described how a couple years back, he received 'reloaded ammunition' from a friend," the document said.

Kenny's office and storerooms in Albuquerque were the subject of a search warrant. Kenny could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Sheriff's deputies said they also had spoken with Thell Reed, the father of Hannah Gutierrez, the woman who was in charge of weapons on the movie set.

Thell, who is also a movie armorer, told them he worked with Kenny earlier this year on another film and supplied some additional live ammunition for training on a firearms range.

Thell said some of the live ammunition from that film was left over and remained in Kenny's possession. "Thell stated that this ammunition may match the ammunition found on the set of Rust."

Two crew members have filed civil lawsuits over the fatal shooting, alleging negligence on the part of the producers and others.

Baldwin has said he is heartbroken and is cooperating with the law enforcement investigation. Production company Rust Movie Productions is conducting its own probe.

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