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"Rust" Armorer Likely Hungover When She Loaded Gun That Killed Cinematographer, Prosecutors Allege
Prosecutors claim Rust weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who loaded the gun Alec Baldwin was using when a cinematographer was fatally shot, has a history of reckless behavior.
Prosecutors allege the weapons supervisor on the set of “Rust” was likely hungover when she inserted a live bullet into the revolver that Alec Baldwin was using when cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed in 2021.
In a response to a request from the defense team for head armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed to have the involuntary manslaughter charge against her dismissed, prosecutors in New Mexico claimed that she was drinking heavily and smoking marijuana during nights while the Western film was being shot.
Prosecutors accuse Gutierrez-Reed of having a history of reckless conduct and stated in their response that “it is in the public interest that she finally be held accountable.”
Defense Attorney Jason Bowles claims that the prosecution has mishandled the case.
“The case is so weak that they now have chosen to resort to character assassination claims about Hannah,” Bowles told the Associated Press. “The prosecution has abandoned the idea of doing justice and getting to the actual truth apparently.”
A preliminary hearing has been set for Aug. 9 in Gutierrez-Reed's case, where the judge is expected to decide whether there is probable cause for the involuntary manslaughter charge against her to move forward.
The involuntary manslaughter charge against Baldwin was dismissed in April due to the possibility that the gun malfunctioned. The prosecutors noted in their response that if further analysis of the gun determines it did not malfunction, they will recharge Baldwin, who stars in, co-wrote and is a producer on the film.
They anticipate a final charging decision for Baldwin to be made within the next 60 days.
The fatal shooting occurred on the Rust set in October of 2021. Baldwin was pointing a .45 caliber revolver at Hutchins during a rehearsal on the Santa Fe film set when it went off, killing Hutchins and severely injuring the film’s director, Joel Souza, court documents detailed.
In the motion to dismiss Gutierrez-Reed’s charge, her attorneys accused the FBI of damaging the gun’s sear during testing before the defense could examine the weapon themselves.
“The unavailability of this material evidence is prejudicial to Reed,” the lawyers said in their motion.
Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys claimed that the Santa Fe District Attorney and an initial special prosecutor used the tragic incident to “advance their personal interests."
They further argued that the “selective prosecution” of Gutierrez-Reed infringed on her rights to equal protection under the 14th Amendment.
“Nothing about this prosecution has or will be selective,” the new special prosecutors in the case said in response to Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys.
While investigators haven’t yet been able to find an answer as to where the live rounds on set came from, prosecutors suggested that there is evidence to support a theory that Gutierrez-Reed is responsible for them and if so, additional charges may follow.
They did not provide details of this evidence, but the investigation into the presence of live rounds on set is ongoing.