The debacle that led to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the low-budget Alec Baldwin Western Rust has taken another legal twist today. Variety reports that armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed—who’s been at the center of questions about how a live bullet ended up in the gun that discharged in Baldwin’s hand on the fatal day of October 21, 2021—has now accused the film’s ammo supplier of mixing live and dummy rounds into material provided for the film.
Gutierrez Reed has, in fact, now sued Seth Kenney, proprietor and owner of PDQ Arm & Prop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, alleging that he and his business were the source of the hazard on the film’s set, having allegedly provided a box of dummy rounds that may have become mixed with “reloaded” rounds that included live bullets.
Previously, Kenney had reportedly told investigators that he believed he had received, in the past, live “reloaded” ammunition with the same logo as the dummy rounds he provided to the producers of Rust, and that it was possible the two types of ammunition had been mixed together. Later, though, he flatly denied the possibility, telling ABC News, “It’s not a possibility that they came from PDQ or from myself personally.”
Focus on responsibility for the Rust disaster—which killed Hutchins, and wounded director Joel Souza—has often been aimed at the question of how a live round got onto the film’s set. (That was the question Baldwin, also a producer on the movie, pushed in an interview in which he asserted he had “no responsibility” for the tragedy.) There have been wider questions, though, about safety practices on the set; Gutierrez Reed, who’s 24, has been accused of unsafe gun handling practices on a previous film, and assistant director Dave Halls has acknowledged that he didn’t fully check the gun that misfired before handing it to Baldwin.
This is the third lawsuit to spawn from the Rust shooting to date; gaffer Serge Svetnoy filed a suit of negligence against the production back in November, and script supervisor Mamie Mitchell launched a similar one not long after.