“Rust” Armorer Loaded Revolver for Alec Baldwin Before On-Set Shooting

In videos shared in court, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed admits to loading the weapon that left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead

Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed loaded the weapon for producer and star Alec Baldwin prior to the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, she told investigators in interview clips shown to the jury in First Judicial District Court.

Corporal Alexandra Hancock, the lead investigator in the case against Gutierrez-Reed, wrapped testimony Wednesday, telling jurors the box from which Gutierrez-Reed pulled ammunition contained a live round. In the interview clip, Hancock asked her how a live round might have gotten into the box. She replied: “I’m not entirely sure…Hard to speculate definitely,” but eventually she said they must’ve “somehow gotten mixed” into the box.

On the day of the incident, Oct. 21, 2021, Gutierrez-Reed gave two boxes of dummy ammunition to Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Tim Benavidez, reporting they were the source of bullets she loaded into guns for actors. Benavidez placed the boxes in the back of his car and later sent them to the FBI for testing.

Prosecutors argue that Gutierrez-Reed, who faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering in the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, was negligent in her duty to ensure prop guns and ammunition on the set were safe. Rather than using dummy ammunition as expected, she allegedly loaded a live round into the Colt-.45 revolver used by Baldwin during a rehearsal. Baldwin maintains he did not pull the trigger before the weapon discharged, but also faces an involuntary manslaughter charge in a separate case scheduled for trial beginning July 10.

The footage from the first sit-down with Gutierrez-Reed lasted about an hour, while the follow-up interrogation went on for approximately three hours.

During the second interview, Gutierrez-Reed told investigators she gave first assistant director David Halls the revolver that slayed Hutchins, spun the cylinder and told him it was “dummied up.” Halls, who signed a plea agreement admitting to negligence use of a deadly weapon early in the investigation process, is expected to testify in the case.

Special Prosecutor Kari Morrissey asked Hancock if spinning the cylinder would enable Halls to know whether the loaded gun had dummy rounds only.

“The only way he would be able to tell by spinning the cylinder would be the ones that didn’t have primer caps on them,” Hancock replied.

Earlier witnesses for the production have attempted to outline the differences between dummy and live rounds, but defense attorneys raised the point that some fake ammunition was designed to mimic live bullets.

A primer cap, which is typically silver in color, ignites the propellant powder in a live cartridge.

When Hancock showed Gutierrez-Reed photos of the .45 Long Colt dummy round boxes she turned over to Benavidez, she said she didn’t recognize one.

“I don’t recall that being the box that we were pulling from,” Gutierrez-Reed stated in the video. “It looks a little dingy.”

Shannon Prince, a physical scientist forensic examiner with the FBI, testified Feb. 26 that she developed 10 latent fingerprints on that box—two of them belonged to Gutierrez-Reed.

When the prosecutor asked if there was evidence Gutierrez-Reed brought the live ammunition on the set, Hancock replied, “I guess it would be circumstantial.” Crew members reportedly told media outlets after the shooting that some crew used prop guns and live ammunition for target practice, or “plinking,” during off duty time at the Bonanza Creek Ranch.

Hancock’s testimony was among the longest duration of any witness so far in the case—beginning Tuesday afternoon and running through Wednesday afternoon—largely because she remained on the stand while prosecutors played roughly four hours of interrogation and office lapel cam video.

Gutierrez-Reed’s demeanor varied drastically in the two encounters with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department. The armorer, who Hancock told defense attorneys appeared “distraught,” had green hair in the first one. At one point, she removed loose ammunition from her pants pockets at the interrogation table. She also told investigators the reason she was not present for the church scene was because she told props master Sarah Zachry that she was “literally going to piss her pants” and the bathrooms on the job site were “far as shit.”

The first interview occurred just hours after the incident and before investigators or Gutierrez-Reed knew Hutchins died.

Her second interview, in which she’s accompanied by defense attorney Jason Bowles, shows Gutierrez-Reed more composed—polished up with brown hair and leaning on the chair in a more relaxed fashion. When Morrissey asked if it appeared she had been “prepped by her attorney” during the second interview that occurred nearly three weeks following the on-set shooting, Hancock told jurors yes.

During cross examination, defense attorney Jason Bowles speculated that PDQ Arm and Prop owner Seth Kenney, who Hancock contacted multiple times following the shooting, could have led the case manager in the wrong direction intentionally. When asked if Kenney had indicated Gutierrez-Reed was the source of the live rounds found on set, Hancock told jurors, “He said something to that extent.” Bowles added that because investigators did not execute a search warrant on Kenney’s business until nearly a month later, he also had time to get rid of evidence if he wanted to, and Hancock agreed.

“I don’t believe he was trying to steer me in any way,” Hancock said in response to the suggestion. “I think he was trying to be helpful in finding the source of the live ammunition.”

Hancock never took Kenney’s DNA or fingerprints and never took his phone to be downloaded, she told Bowles. He faces no charges and is expected to testify on behalf of the state later in the trial.

District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer expects the trial to last until March 8. If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, Gutierrez-Reed faces up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. Prosecutors added the evidence tampering charge because another person from the movie production claims Gutierrez-Reed handed off suspected narcotics before investigators questioned her.

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