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'Rust' Armorer Says Alec Baldwin Didn't Follow Gun Safety Protocols Before Fatal Shooting

“Mr. Baldwin knew that he could never point a firearm at crew members under any circumstances,” Hannah Gutierrez Reed's attorney said in a statement.  “Yet he did point the gun at Halyna before the fatal incident.”

By Jill Sederstrom
Rust Movie Set Ap

The armorer on the “Rust” movie set is accusing actor Alec Baldwin of failing to follow gun safety procedures before the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Hannah Gutierrez Reed made the claims through her attorney in response to an arbitration demand from Baldwin’s attorneys on Friday.

The actor’s attorneys are attempting to shield the actor from any financial responsibility in the deadly shooting, by claiming that the contract he signed protected him against liability, The New York Times reports.

Hutchins was killed Oct. 21 when an antique revolver Baldwin had been holding during a rehearsal for the western discharged, striking Hutchins in the chest and lodging into the shoulder of director Joel Souza, who survived the shooting.

Although no criminal charges have been filed to date, a series of lawsuits — including a lawsuit from Hutchins’ husband targeting Baldwin and others connected to the film — have been filed against those either on the set that day or with links to the film.

In the arbitration demand filed Friday against Baldwin’s fellow producers on the film, his attorneys argued that he was not responsible for the shooting and had been assured by others tasked with checking the ammunition in the gun that it was safe to use.

“Someone is culpable for chambering the live round that led to this horrific tragedy, and it is someone other than Baldwin,” Baldwin’s attorney Luke Nikas wrote in the filing, according to The New York Times. “This is a rare instance when the system broke down, and someone should be held legally culpable for the tragic consequences. That person is not Alec Baldwin.”

The filing went on to say that during training for the film, Gutierrez Reed had told Baldwin “it was her job to check the gun — not his.”

Baldwin claims the alleged statement matched with other experience he had on set during his lengthy career in the movie industry.

“An actor cannot rule that a gun is safe,” the filing obtained by the paper said. “That is the responsibility of other people on the set.”

But in a response of her own, Gutierrez Reed blamed Baldwin for not following gun safety procedures. She said through her attorney that she was never called to check the weapon before the “impromptu” rehearsal with the weapon began that afternoon.

“Mr. Baldwin as well as others within that church had a duty and responsibility to call Hannah in for inspection of the gun and safety instruction before any gun scene was conducted,” her attorney Jason Bowles said in a statement obtained by Oxygen.com.  “Hannah was not called into the church before the impromptu gun scene rehearsal and she should have been.”

At the time, the number of people allowed in the church had been restricted because of COVID-19 protocols.

Bowles went on to say that Gutierrez Reed had no way of knowing what was going on inside the church.

“Mr. Baldwin knew that he could never point a firearm at crew members under any circumstances and had a duty of safety to his fellow crew members,” Bowles said. “Yet he did point the gun at Halyna before the fatal incident against all rules and common sense.”

Bowles also argued that Gutierrez Reed had “prop duties that she was forced to deal with at the time” because she had been forced to take on dual roles on the film.

“Hannah tried her best to be present as armorer, fight for more training for Baldwin and make guns her ultimate priority on set, but faced constant resistance from production and also Baldwin as part of the production team,” he continued.

According to Bowles, Gutierrez Reed had offered to train Baldwin about how to do a cross draw, which was described as “dangerous,” but Baldwin never accepted the offer.

Friday’s arbitration filing by Baldwin’s attorneys also included more details about the circumstances around the fatal shooting, including details from the script.

“Rust’s Colt COCKED quietly now…” the script said, before his pursuers approached, describing the weapons as “EXPLODING.”

They also asserted that Baldwin had been following Hutchins’ instructions — a claim he also made in a December interview with ABC News — when the gun went off.

“She directed Baldwin to hold the gun higher, to a point where it was directed toward her,” it said. “She was looking carefully at the monitor and then at Baldwin, and then back again, as she gave these instructions. In giving and following these instructions, Hutchins and Baldwin shared a core, vital belief: that the gun was ‘cold’ and contained no live rounds.”

His attorneys have argued that Baldwin should not be financially responsible because a clause in his contract with Rust Movie Productions L.L.C. stated he would have no financial responsibility for legal fees or claims that arose from a death and they sought to enforce the clause as part of the filing.

The filing also described the crumbling relationship between Baldwin and Hutchins’ husband, Matthew Hutchins — who filed a lawsuit against the actor last month — including text messages and conversations the pair had in the months after the October shooting.

Baldwin’s attorneys say the pair had initially sought solace in each other and had breakfast in Santa Fe, New Mexico, along with Hutchins’ 9-year-old son, shortly after the shooting.

“Hutchins hugged Baldwin and told him, ‘I guess we’re gong to go through this together,’” it said.

However, they noted the relationship became strained after Baldwin appeared on the televised interview in December and claimed he had no responsibility in the shooting.

In response to the Baldwin’s latest filing, attorneys for Matthew Hutchins’ accused the actor of “trying to avoid liability and accountability for his reckless actions,” according to a statement obtained by CNN.

"Baldwin's disclosure of personal texts with Matt Hutchins is irrelevant to his demand for arbitration and fails to demonstrate anything other than Hutchins' dignity in his engagement with Baldwin," the statement said.

They also called Baldwin’s claim that Matthew Hutchins’ lawsuit against him and others associated with the film prevented the movie from being completed as “shameful.”

“The only action that ended the film’s production was Baldwin’s killing of Halyna Hutchins,” his attorneys said.

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