Rust armer sues ammunition supplier. Claims he mixed bullets

Investigation into Halyna Hutchins’ October shooting death on the Santa Fe (New Mexico) set of “Rust”It has always been based on one. critical question.

What was the story behind this? Live bullet finds its way into Alec Baldwin’s replica Colt .45 that tragic day in Santa Fe, New Mexico?

“Rust”Hannah Gutierrez Reed, an armorer believes that it was due to negligence by Seth Kenney. A New Mexico-based ammunition and weapons supplier, Kenney was responsible for providing inert ammo to the Baldwin produced the film. Instead, Baldwin’s live ammunition killed Hutchins and injured Joel Souza.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday against Kenney and his company PDQ Arm and Prop, Reed contends that Kenney supplied the “Rust” set with live bullets mixed in among dummy and blank rounds. Kenney sought to blame Reed for his actions during the low budget film shoot.

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An aerial photo of the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a frequent destination for crews shooting Westerns. Investigators are still piecing together how cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed there on the set of the Alec Baldwin movie "Rust."

“Defendants (Kenney and PDQ Prop) as suppliers of prop ammunition to the ‘Rust’ set, sold, distributed, and advertised its props as dummy ammunition and not live rounds,”The complaint says. “Hannah relied upon and trusted that Defendants would only supply dummy prop ammunition, or blanks, and no live rounds were ever to be on set.”

Four counts are included in the lawsuit, which seeks a jury trial. “dangerous condition”The set, as well as the providing materials “false and deceptive product labels.”

USA TODAY reached out to Kenney’s lawyer for comment.

It was months before the “Rust”According to the complaint, Kenney helped actors shoot a Texas movie and practice live-round shooting in order to feel how real guns react. 

Veteran movie set armorer Thell Reed, Hannah Gutierrez Reed’s father, who joined Kenney on that assignment, says there were hundreds of live rounds used that day in Texas, some with casings marked “Starline Brass,” the same same stamp found on the live round that killed Hutchins.  

His 24-page civil complaint against his daughter portrays the “Rust”It was both messy and lax. Crews were quitting and guns with dummy ammunition were going off inadvertently. Key figures were not following protocol. 

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Alec Baldwin told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in an interview that he didn't pull the trigger when his gun went off on the set of "Rust," killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. He says he partially pulled back the hammer of the revolver, and it fired when he let go.

In the days leading up to the Oct. 21 shooting, property master Sarah Zachry had a gun discharge toward her foot. Moments later, Baldwin’s student double saw his weapon go off. Both had no live ammunition.

Reed confronted Zachry about the accidental discharges, but the complaint says she soon received a terse text from Kenney, who had recommended both Reed and Zachry for their “Rust”Zachry to be laid off by her employer “Don’t forget she’s your boss,”Reed was written by Kenney. “Don’t push it.”

Kenney subsequently called a police officer friend – Officer Troy Teske, of Bullhead City, Arizona, who he had met through Thell Reed – to complain that he never wanted to work with the younger Reed again.

Chaos reigned the day after the shooting. Reed complains that he received a full box “dummy”The rounds appeared in an instant. Zachry did not respond to Reed’s questions about the origin of the box. 

Reed set about inspecting and loading Baldwin’s Colt .45. The players from the group described the next few minutes. “Rust”There has been tragedy in the last months and investigators are trying piece together what exactly happened.

Reed’s story has Reed shaking six bullets that she made sure were loaded in his Colt.45. The individual rattles signify that they were dummy round. 

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Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died on Oct. 21, 2021, in New Mexico after Alec Baldwin discharged a prop firearm on the set of "Rust." She was 42.

Baldwin was ready to go back to the church-scene set when Reed gave the Colt to Dave Halls, assistant director. Halls informed Baldwin that she wouldn’t use the gun during rehearsals.

Reed contends the gun stayed with Halls. She claims she called Halls to ask if she wanted to speak to Baldwin about the gun.

She stepped outside, given COVID-19 protocols limiting the number of personnel allowed inside the small church. A shot rang out. Baldwin had taken the weapon from Halls – who had called out “cold gun” – and was practicing cross-drawing when the gun discharged as it was pointed toward his cinematographer.

“Had Hannah been called back in, she would have re-inspected the weapon, and every round again, and instructed Baldwin on safe gun practice with the cross draw,”The complaint says. “Hannah would never have let Baldwin point the weapon at Halyna, as part of standard safe gun practices. Apparently, no one inside the Church stopped Baldwin from doing so, including AD Halls.”

Reed’s lawyers stated that Kenney reached for Officer Teske in the immediate aftermath.

“During that call from Seth to Troy at 4:03 p.m. on October 21, just hours after the shooting and before Halyna had been pronounced deceased, Seth stated words to the effect to Troy that Hannah had messed up,”The complaint says. “How and why, Seth came to this almost immediate conclusion that Hannah had ‘messed up’ and offered it up unsolicited to Troy is neither understood or yet to be explained or clarified.”

Candles are placed in front of a photo of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a vigil at Albuquerque Civic Plaza on Oct. 23, 2021, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Two days earlier, Hutchins was killed on the set while filming the movie "Rust" at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe.

In the complaint Kenney is accused of trying to distract from himself by initiating a text exchange with Reed where he suggested that AD Halls had bullied Hannah, and not allowed her work safely. Seth said that Halls would be able to shift the blame to her if she did so. “

For his part, Baldwin said in his TV interview with George Stephanopoulos in December that he never pulled the Colt’s trigger, and that the gun went off after he pulled the hammer back at the request of his cinematographer.

Baldwin has not elaborated on why he was wielding a gun during rehearsal.

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