A gunsmith tasked with handling guns for the New Mexico movie Rust, where Alec Baldwin fatally shot the cameraman last year, filed a lawsuit Wednesday accusing a weapons and ammunition supplier of using “dangerous” materials on set.
In the lawsuit, gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reid alleged that Seth Kenny and his company PDQ Arm & Prop supplied a box labeled “dummy” that actually contained at least one live round fired from a pistol that Baldwin trained with on October 21 last year. As a result of the discharge, cameraman Galina Hutchins was killed and the film’s director Joel Souza was injured.
“Hannah and the entire crew of ‘The Rust’ relied on the defendants’ false claims that they provided only dummy ammunition,” the New Mexico state court filing says in the filing.
According to the lawsuit, which mentioned Mr. Kenny and his company, he worked with Ms. Gutierrez-Reed’s father, famous Hollywood gunsmith Tell Reed, on another movie set in Texas about a month or two before the fatal shooting.
The lawsuit alleges that Mr. Kenny asked Mr. Reid to help train the actors to fire live ammunition away from the set. Mr. Kenny then took away the ammunition, including live ammunition, that Mr. Reed provided for the exercise, the report said.
What happened on the set of Rust
According to court documents filed by a Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office detective last year, Mr. Reid said the live ammunition used at the shooting range may have been the same as on the set of Rust.
Attorneys for Ms. Gutierrez-Reed said in the lawsuit that Mr. Kenny and PDQ Arm & Prop of Albuquerque “distributed crates of ammunition purporting to contain dummies, but which contained a mixture of dummies and live ammunition for the production of Rust.”
They “knew, or should have reasonably believed, that the ammunition they supplied for the production of Rust would be used in filming scenes involving the discharge of firearms,” the statement said.
Mr Kenny did not immediately respond to a request for comment. His role as a supplier of blanks and blanks to production, and whether he may have also shipped live ammunition, are already under investigation by New Mexico law enforcement.
In November, a search warrant was issued for Mr. Kenny’s business. According to an affidavit in the case, Rust’s head of props Sarah Zahri told detectives that some of the ammunition came from Mr. Kenny and some came from a previous production that Ms. Gutierrez-Reed had worked on. “person identified as ‘Billy Ray’.”
At the time, Mr. Kenny, who also did business in Arizona and California, said he was confident he was not the source of any of the rounds.
“It is possible that they came from PDQ or from me personally,” he said in an interview with Good Morning America, adding that mock cartridges from his company go through individual “rattle tests” before being shipped (when shaken, the mocks will rattle, but the live ones will not).
In the latest lawsuit, Ms Gutierrez-Reid’s lawyers described the steps she took to check the safety of the weapon before it was handed over to Baldwin. “Hannah remembered a chamber that she thought should have been cleaned in Baldwin’s pistol, and she cleaned it, and then Hannah pulled another round out of the dummy box, shook it, and placed it in the chamber,” court documents say. “As far as Hannah knew, there were now 6 decoy rounds in the gun.”
Ms. Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer previously said that on the set of The Rust, she had two jobs – a gunsmith and a props assistant – which prevented her from fully focusing on her job as a gunsmith. The lawsuit, which characterized the set of Rust as having a “hurried and chaotic atmosphere,” noted that Ms. Gutierrez-Reed had to pay about $7,500 for both jobs combined.
Ms. Gutierrez-Reid was named as one of several defendants in separate lawsuits filed by two crew members of the Rust, who alleged that she did not follow proper safety precautions as a gunsmith and that at 24 she did not have enough experience to watch the weapons on the set.
Mr. Kenny and his company stated that “the prop was a dummy cartridge and a safe and effective product for use on set, when in fact it was an unsafe live cartridge and should never have been on set,” Mr. Ms. Gutierrez Reid. said in court documents.