‘Rust’ gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez Reed sues arms supplier over Alec Baldwin film

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“Rust” gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez Reed sued the arms supplier over the low-budget western, alleging he provided a poorly marked ammo box containing live ammunition on the set, contributing to the fatal crash involving actor Alec Baldwin.

Gutierrez Reed’s lawsuit was filed Wednesday night in New Mexico’s 2nd Judicial District Court in Albuquerque against Seth Kenney and his firm, PDQ Arm & Prop. The lawsuit alleges that Kenney and PDQ violated New Mexico’s Unfair Trade Practices Act by bringing unsafe products onto the set and supplying ammunition with “false representations of labels.”

A box of ammunition, which surfaced on the set near Santa Fe on the morning of the fatal October 21 crash, was labeled “dummies,” even though the box contained seven live ammunition mixed with 43 dummies, according to the prosecution. .

Kenney said he did not provide “Rust” with live ammunition, including the one Baldwin fired, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring film director Joel Souza.

“PDQ Arm & Prop, LLC supplied the guns, blanks and some of the dummy rusting bullets,” Kenney said in a statement provided to The Times in late November. “In accordance with industry safety standards, PDQ did not supply Rust with live ammunition.”

Neither Kenney nor his attorney were immediately available for comment on Wednesday.

The lawsuit comes as Santa Fe County Sheriff’s investigators continue to search for details of the crash that has escalated calls for stricter safety measures on film sets.

MPs scrutinized the actions of Baldwin – the star and producer who fired the propeller pistol during a rehearsal – as well as assistant director David Halls, who was in charge of safety on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set. ; and Gutierrez Reed, the 24-year-old gunsmith in production, who was responsible for firearms, ammunition, and gun safety.

Gutierrez Reed previously told sheriff detectives that although she checked Baldwin’s gun that day before the unscheduled rehearsal, she “didn’t really check it too much” because the gun had been locked away. in a safe during a lunch break, according to a Nov. 30 affidavit report filed by a sheriff’s detective.

In her trial, Gutierrez Reed said she did not hand the gun to Baldwin after the lunch break, as is usual practice, saying she was unaware the gun was going to be used during the lunch break. ‘a repetition.

Instead, she presented the gun to Halls, who told investigators he did not check all the cartridges in the gun before it was handed over to Baldwin.

The costume portrays Gutierrez Reed as a low-level worker who was to be paid $ 7,500 for doing two jobs on “Rust” as a gunsmith in charge of weapons on the heavy film and as an assistant to the prop master.

The lawsuit speculated that the ammunition came from Gutierrez Reed’s father, Thell Reed, who is a noted Hollywood gunsmith. Kenney worked with Thell Reed on another western shot last summer in Texas, and during that production Kenney asked Thell Reed to bring live ammunition so they could take the cast of that movie along, ” 1883 “, on a shooting range and show them what it was like. to shoot with a vintage weapon.

Reed previously told investigators that Kenney returned to New Mexico with his box of ammunition. The box contained 200 to 300 actual cartridges, depending on the combination. Santa Fe Sheriff’s Deputies searched Kenney’s PDQ store in Albuquerque on November 30.

The lawsuit alleges without documentation that Kenney and PDQ Arm & Prop then supplied some of the ammunition to “Rust” in a box labeled “45 Colt Dummies” even though “the contents contained both dummy and live ammunition,” said the trial.

“These misrepresentations caused the introduction of live touring on set, resulting in a predictable catastrophic outcome and causing damage to people on the Rust set.”

According to the lawsuit, Gutierrez Reed was surprised to find a box full of ammunition lying on her equipment bag in the propeller truck when she arrived for work around 6:30 a.m. We’ve been looking for a full box of dummy balls for weeks! Where does that come from? ”The costume says.

The Times previously reported that in the days immediately following the shooting, real estate master Sarah Zachry told an acquaintance that the emergence of a new ammo box that morning was puzzling.

Zachry was the PDQ gun rep on “Rust,” Kenney said.

At 10 a.m., Zachry, Gutierrez Reed, and a props assistant loaded five rounds into Baldwin’s weapon and two other guns using bullets from the box that was found in the prop truck this morning. that morning, according to the trial.

Gutierrez Reed, who believed the box contained only dummy bullets, tried to load a sixth bullet, but it got stuck. Throughout the morning, Baldwin handled the pistol with the five rounds.

After lunch, Gutierrez Reed cleaned a chamber in Baldwin’s pistol, then “took another round out of the dummy box, shook it, and placed it in the chamber,” the costume said.

The film’s props department protected the guns, but not the ammunition, the lawsuit says.

“Throughout production on the Rust set, before filming, the propeller truck was pretty much always left unlocked and accessible to everyone,” the suit said. He also noted that sheriff’s investigators did not search the propeller truck until six days after the shooting.

Will Wagoner, Zachry’s attorney, said there were numerous inaccuracies in his client’s portrayal in the lawsuit.

“Did PDQ do something wrong? Who knows, maybe they did. But I know my client didn’t,” Wagoner said.

Gutierrez Reed’s senior attorney, Jason Bowles, has previously brought up the idea of ​​”sabotage” on set – without providing any evidence for the claims.

The trial brings together a series of events before and after the fatal shooting, including Kenney’s interactions with Thell Reed and one of Reed’s friends. It also contained a text message in which Kenney objected to Bowles’ “sabotage” claims.

“There’s nothing to be gained if Hannah and her lawyers get me into this,” Kenney wrote in a text message to Thell Reed. “If anything, the DA can perceive this as an unapologetic scapegoat and lower the boom even further. You and I will be collateral damage in this tragedy and this approach, it just makes no sense.”

After the shooting, according to the lawsuit, Kenney encouraged Guttierez Reed to cooperate with the police and to “implicate AD Halls as being the person responsible for the tragedy”, according to the lawsuit.

“You’re young, definitely not green or inexperienced with vintage guns, but have you been blown away by the set system and AD with over 30 years of experience?” Kenney wrote in a text message to Gutierrez Reed, which was copied into the lawsuit. “I think you did, and you’re too proud to say it. If you had been associated with a truly professional AD, none of this would have happened.”

Editor Julia Wick contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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