There was a variety of news in the Baldwin movie shooting case today.
Perhaps the most significant — and shocking — piece of news was from the assistant director, David Halls, the man who handed Alec Baldwin the gun which he then used in the shooting on the set of “Rust.”
Halls admitted that he “should have checked” all of the rounds inside the barrel before the fatal shooting but didn’t — and he “couldn’t recall” if the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, adhered to that protocol, according to a new affidavit cited by the New York Post.
“David advised when Hannah showed him the firearm before continuing rehearsal, he could only remember seeing three rounds. He advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t recall if she spun the drum,” detectives wrote in the affidavit.
When asked about the safety protocols on set in regards to firearms, Hall told police the armorer “spins the drum” and checks to ensure there are no live rounds before handing it off.
Halls said he picked up the gun and brought it over to the production’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, to be checked before resuming rehearsal.
“I check the barrel for obstructions, most of the time there’s no live fire, [Hannah] opens the hatch and spins the drum, and I say cold gun on set,” Halls told authorities, referring to a production term that means that the firearm doesn’t contain live rounds and is safe for rehearsal.
Gutierrez also told the police about how she handled the weapon.
“Hannah advised on the day of the incident, she checked the ‘dummies’ and ensured they were not ‘hot’ rounds,” the document states.
“Hannah advised she handed the gun to Alec Baldwin a couple times, and also handed it to David Halls. When [a detective] asked about live ammo on set, Hannah responded no live ammo is ever kept on set.”
Except there may be a problem with that claim. Santa Fe Sheriff Adan Mendoza said today during a press conference that the police found about 500 rounds on the set, among which there was a “mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what we are suspecting [to be] live rounds.” He said they found what they believe were “possible additional live rounds on set” and they were trying to determine how those got there “because they shouldn’t have been there.”
Here’s some of the press conference from today with Mendoza.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza gives an update on the fatal misfire of a prop gun on the set of the Alec Baldwin film “Rust” https://t.co/2bVV09yQCq pic.twitter.com/vIktnBmPzC
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) October 27, 2021
After the shooting, Halls asked the armorer to open the gun so he could see what was inside. He said he saw at least four “dummy” casings with a hole on the side and “one without the hole” that didn’t have a “cap” on it and “was just the casing.”
Gutierrez said that during lunch, the firearms were secured in the prop truck but the ammo was “left on a cart on the set, not secured.”
Mendoza said there appears to have been “complacency” in regard to gun safety and that they were going to follow up on all the stories about issues and prior incidents. The DA said that would factor into their legal analysis ultimately as to what to do in the case. As we previously reported, they haven’t ruled out criminal charges in this case.
That comes as there were new reports today about the armorer’s problems on the set of her first movie, the Nicholas Cage movie, “The Old Way.” “Rust” was her second job as head armorer. Crew members told The Wrap that Gutierrez repeatedly broke safety protocols on the set.
From The NY Post:
Cage even walked off set screaming at Gutierrez-Reed after she fired a gun without warning for the second time in three days, the movie’s key grip, Stu Brumbaugh, told the outlet.
“Make an announcement, you just blew my f—ing eardrums out!” Cage yelled before walking off in a rage, Brumbaugh recalled.
Brumbaugh even told the assistant director of the armorer, “She needs to be let go,” he recalled.
There were also reportedly complaints that she walked on the set with live rounds and that she wore guns under her armpits pointing backwards at people.
But the prop master who supervised Gutierrez-Reed on “The Old Way,” Jeffrey Crow, disputed those reports. He defended her and said he found her a “very eager and talented armorer.” Crow said he’d be surprised if she was found to be at fault in any way in the shooting on “Rust.”