'Rust' armorer files suit, says Alec Baldwin ignored 'cross-draw' gun training
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer on the sets of 'Rust' where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot dead in October, is partly blaming the tragedy on actor Alec Baldwin as he did not attend a training session.
Gutierrez-Reed, 24, filed a lawsuit in Bernalillo County, New Mexico on Wednesday, January 12, alleging that 63-year-old Baldwin ignored her request to attend a cross draw session about a week before the incident. She also laid part of the blame on assistant director David Halls for not following set protocol when he allegedly handed Baldwin the weapon without having her inspect it. The lawsuit is primarily aimed at Seth Kenney and his company, PDQ Arm and Prop LLC, accusing them of supplying the live bullet. Baldwin is not named as a defendant in the suit.
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The legal filing noted how the "gun-heavy script" required Gutierrez-Reed to juggle two jobs at once, both as "an armorer and key props assistant." Sarah Zachry, who joined the set shortly after as props manager, fired a blank round at her foot on set, per the lawsuit. Just 20 minutes later, Baldwin's stunt double accidentally discharged a weapon on set, Gutierrez-Reed noted in her suit.
And while she's filed the suit primarily against Kenney and his company, she does lay some blame on Baldwin and Halls. The court documents note how the '30 Rock' star did not respond to her request to schedule a cross-draw training session for the gun scenes. It's worth noting that the actor was performing a cross draw -- where the gun is drawn across the body -- when he shot and killed Hutchins.
Gutierrez-Reed claims in her suit -- filed by attorney Jason Bowles -- that she loaded the gun used in the church scene with what she believed were dummy rounds before handing it to assistant director Halls, who told her he would be sitting with the firearm during rehearsal. She said she then left the church and about 15 minutes later, Halls handed Baldwin the gun, calling out "cold gun" and thus signaling it was not loaded with live rounds.
The armorer also claimed in the lawsuit that it wasn't a scheduled rehearsal with Baldwin himself and that Halls failed to follow protocol by not informing her that Baldwin was going to be filming or practicing the gun move. Instead, Baldwin began practicing the cross draw from his shoulder holster to get the proper camera angles with Hutchins. It was then that the gun went off. Gutierrez-Reed insisted that Baldwin would have learned safe gun practices if he had let her train him on the cross-draw move. She said she would have never let him point a gun at Hutchins, but she wasn't in the church at the time the shooting occurred. The 24-year-old is suing Kenney alleging that he had access to the set and knew the code to the prop safe where the firearms were stored. The lawsuit notes that Kenney and his company were the production's primary supplier of ammunition and should therefore be liable for the live ammunition that somehow found its way onto the set, according to TMZ.