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Attorneys For ‘Rust’ Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed Say She Was Under ‘Extreme Pressure’ And ‘Rushed’ On Set
Attorneys for “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed said she “didn’t even know” Alec Baldwin was on the set with the gun before the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, calling it “insane” for prosecutors to blame her.
Attorneys for “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are speaking out, saying she felt “extreme pressure” to work in unsafe conditions before the fatal shooting of the film’s cinematographer.
Gutierrez-Reed and actor Alec Baldwin were formally charged Tuesday with involuntary manslaughter in the October 2021 death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was struck and killed by a bullet during a rehearsal for the western, which was being filmed in New Mexico.
Baldwin had been holding the antique revolver when it discharged and struck Hutchins in the chest and then lodged into the shoulder of director Joel Souza, who survived.
Gutierrez-Reed, who was responsible for the safety, training and handling of all weapons on set, has been accused of “failing to perform an industry standard safety check” before the rehearsal and creating “multiple” instances of “recklessness” on set that contributed to Hutchins’ death, according to a probable cause statement obtained by Oxygen.com.
“Gutierrez-Reed was reckless in her responsibility to ensure set safety with the firearm,” authorities alleged in the court document.
Her attorneys are now fighting back, telling ABC News that Gutierrez-Reed was under “extreme pressure” to work under unsafe conditions.
Attorney Jason Bowles told the news outlet that the film’s first assistant director David Halls “rushed” the armorer, which didn’t give Gutierrez-Reed—who was also serving as an assistant props manager—time to do a full safety check on the gun.
According to Bowles, Halls, who had allegedly been the one to insist that a “real gun” was used in the film, was supposed to call Gutierrez-Reed back to the church where the rehearsal was taking place before Baldwin began to practice with the weapon but never summoned her.
“He admitted that had Hannah been called back in [he] would have prevented this tragedy,” Bowles alleged. “That’s a David Halls failure.”
Gutierrez-Reed was not in the church at the time of the fatal shooting and “didn’t even know that Baldwin was there with the gun,” Bowles said.
“So for the DA's office to blame Hannah for failing to do something … it's insane,” he said.
Bowles also said that Gutierrez-Reed had been “demanding” and “pleading” for Baldwin to have more firearms training but that others on the set “didn’t allow her to do it.”
Special investigator Robert Schilling wrote in the probable cause statement that Baldwin “was not present for required firearms training prior to the commencement” of filming. Reed worked with the actor later in what was supposed to be an hour-long training, but Schilling said it “only consisted of approximately 30 minutes” of training because Baldwin was constantly distracted and talking with his family on the phone.
According to Bowles, as a result of pressures on set, Gutierrez-Reed was forced into unsafe working conditions.
"She's trying to do her job. And she's being made to do certain things that she's fighting against," Bowles said of the climate on set. "So when you have a 30-year veteran [like Halls] telling her 'You're going to do this.' That's what she did.”
Halls pleaded “no contest” to the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon in the case as part of a plea agreement, according to a statement from New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.
Carmack-Altwies announced the charges against all three – Baldwin, Halls, and Gutierez-Reed – on Tuesday.
“Today we have taken another important step in securing justice for Halyna Hutchins,” she said in the statement obtained by Oxygen.com. “In New Mexico, no one is above the law and justice will be served."
When asked to comment on the allegations made by the attorneys, Halls’ attorney Lisa Torraco referred ABC News to comments that are already in the public record.
In a statement earlier this month, she said the plea deal is expected to come with probation and a $500 fine.
“He can now put this matter behind him and allow the focus of this tragedy to be on the shooting victims and changing the industry so this type of accident will never happen again,” she said, according to People.
Halls continues to deny that he was the one who handed the firearm to Baldwin.
There have been conflicting reports about who handed off the weapon. While Baldwin initially said he got the weapon from Gutierrez-Reed, he later said Halls had handed him the gun and announced it was a “cold” weapon, a term used in the industry to refer to a weapon without any live ammunition.
"Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun -- or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win," attorney Luke Nikas said earlier this month in a statement obtained by Oxygen.com.
Prosecutors have alleged that Gutierrez-Reed “failed to mitigate or address multiple significant safety violations, safety issues, protocol violation(s) and/or concerns” on set, noting that other live ammunition rounds had been found on an armorer’s cart.
“Reed should have caught this live ammunition on set…(and) put everyone on the RUST set in danger by failing to do her job,” Schilling wrote.
He also challenged her experience level, writing in the probable cause statement, that she had "no certification or certifiable training, or union 'card'.”
She had only worked as an armorer on one other film, he alleged.
Bowles, however, told ABC News that she was “absolutely qualified” for the position.
"Everybody has to start somewhere. That didn't mean she wasn't trained or capable of doing this job," he said.
While working on the film, he said she was “trying to follow orders” so she could get her union certification after the film.