Woman who gave Alec Baldwin a loaded gun on doomed ‘Rust’ set heads to trial. What we know so far

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed is facing charges over the shooting death of Halyna Hutchins on the set of the now-infamous movie. Graig Graziosi reports

Thursday 22 February 2024 18:38 GMT
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was the armourer on the set of Rust
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was the armourer on the set of Rust (Facebook / Voices of the West)

The armourer who gave Alec Baldwin a gun on the set of the doomed movie Rust is about to go on trial in connection to the accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

On 21 October 2021, a film crew was shooting scenes in New Mexico for the now infamous western.

At one point, Baldwin was rehearsing a scene where he would aim one of the set’s period-appropriate revolvers at the camera.

The prop gun fired and a real bullet struck Hutchins. She died from her injuries.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was working as the set’s armourer — responsible for the maintenance, storage, and use of weapons and firearms on the production.

Following Hutchins’ death, both Ms Gutierrez-Reed and Baldwin were hit with charges.

While Baldwin is scheduled to go on trial later this summer, jury selection is getting under way on 21 February in Gutierrez-Reed’s trial.

Police bodycam shows Alec Baldwin moments after Rust shooting

What happened to Halyna Hutchins?

On the day of the shooting, Baldwin was rehearsing a scene in which he was required to draw his weapon and aim it toward the camera.

Ms Gutierrez-Reed had prepared a trio of guns for use in the scene, including two guns that could not fire rounds, and a fully-operational replica of a Colt 45 revolver.

The armourer reportedly checked the weapons before placing them on a cart and making them available to Baldwin, according to court documents.

While discussing the scene, Baldwin was showing Hutchins, camera operator Reid Russell, and the film’s director, Joel Souza, how he intended to draw the firearm.

Alec Baldwin Rust Shooting
Alec Baldwin Rust Shooting (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

“So, I guess I’m gonna take this out, pull it, and go, ‘Bang!’” Baldwin reportedly said, according to a report by the LA Times.

At some point during his draw and explanation, the revolver fired. The bullet struck Hutchins in the chest, exited her body, and then hit Mr Souza, who was behind her.

First responders transported Hutchins to a hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, close to where the film was being shot. She was pronounced dead later that same day. Mr Souza survived.

It was later discovered that a live round had been loaded into the pistol Baldwin used on set that day.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was the armourer on the set of Rust
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was the armourer on the set of Rust (Facebook / Voices of the West)

Charges against Hannah Gutierrez-Reed

Ms Gutierrez-Reed was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter relating to Hutchins’ death, as well as tampering with evidence.

While she did not pull the trigger on the gun which fired the bullet that killed Hutchins, prosecutors argue that her role as armourer made her responsible for ensuring that live ammunition was not loaded into any of the prop guns on set.

Prosecutors have accused Ms Gutierrez-Reed of using alcohol and cocaine on the night before the shooting, and justified the evidence tampering charges by alleging that she had a friend help her hide cocaine from police investigating the shooting.

Ms Gutierrez-Reed has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

The prosecution is likely to question Ms Gutierrez-Reed about why live rounds were on set in the first place, how they were loaded into a prop gun, and about her alleged drug use around the time of the incident.

Alec Baldwin in costume on the set of Rust
Alec Baldwin in costume on the set of Rust (PA Media)

How will this impact Alec Baldwin’s case?

Both Baldwin and Ms Gutierrez-Reed are charged in connection to Ms Hutchins’ death.

And it is likely that both will seek to blame each other at trial.

Ms Gutierrez-Reed’s attorneys have previously stated that the armourer “pleaded” with the producers — including Baldwin — “to provide more firearms training”.

But, she claims she was “denied and brushed aside,” according to her attorneys.

Her defence also said she was forced to maintain both the weapons and the props, and claims the production instructed her to focus more on the props than the firearms.

Ms Gutierrez-Reed’s team will no doubt point to the mass resignation of much of Rust’s camera department — citing ignored safety concerns on set — earlier in the movie’s production, as evidence supporting their client’s version of events.

Baldwin’s case is scheduled to begin this summer.

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