‘Rust’ armorer blames deadly accident on cost-cutting bosses

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'Rust' armorer blames deadly accident on cost-cutting bosses

The rookie armorer in charge of weapons when Alec Baldwin accidentally shot dead his cinematographer has insisted she has “no idea” where the live ammunition came from — and is blaming the tragedy on her cost-cutting bosses.

Lawyers for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed told NBC late Thursday that the 24-year-old former model “is devastated and completely beside herself over the events that have transpired” on the set of Baldwin’s “Rust.”

“Safety is Hannah’s number one priority on set. Ultimately this set would never have been compromised if live ammo were not introduced,” her attorneys, Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence, said in a statement.

“Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from,” the attorneys insisted, saying all the guns had been locked up each night.

Gutierrez-Reed — who was working only her second job as armorer — also insisted she was understaffed, under-trained and overruled when she tried to improve safety on the New Mexico set before Baldwin accidentally shot dead Halyna Hutchins, 42, last Thursday.

“Hannah was hired on two positions on this film, which made it extremely difficult to focus on her job as an armorer,” the statement said.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed
Gutierrez-Reed has complained of being undertrained and overworked before the accident.

“She fought for training, days to maintain weapons and proper time to prepare for gunfire but ultimately was overruled by production and her department.

“The whole production set became unsafe due to various factors, including lack of safety meetings,” it said of the movie that days earlier avoided a strike by crew.

Gutierrez-Reed appeared to confirm earlier reports that there had already been an “accidental discharge” of a weapon at least twice during filming, insisting she was not responsible for either.

“The first one on this set was the prop master and the second was a stunt man after Hannah informed him his gun was hot with blanks,” the statement said.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins
The shooting accident led to the death of respected cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (left).
Swen Studios via Reuters

Producers for the film and Rust Movies Productions LLC did not immediately return requests for comment, NBC said.

No charges have been filed over the fatal shooting, although Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies warned this week that “no one has been ruled out at this point … All options are on the table.”

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza also said that the key focus of the investigation is on “how the live rounds ended up on set.”

Around 500 rounds were taken as part of the investigation, including blanks, dummy rounds and more suspected live rounds.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza
Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies (front right) warned this week that “no one has been ruled out.”
William Farrington for NY Post

Gutierrez-Reed’s complaints about staffing appear to echo the reasons why experienced prop master Neal Zoromski said he turned down a job on the movie, fearing it was “an accident waiting to happen” as producers were only willing to hire one person to do “two really big jobs.”

“Rust” gaffer Serge Svetnoy — who said his friend Hutchins died in his arms — also called out the producers, who include Baldwin, for risking safety to save money by hiring inexperienced crew in key jobs.

Hannah Gutierrez Reed
The former model was only on her second job as an armorer during “Rust.”
Twitter

“No saved penny is worth the LIFE of the person!” he wrote on Facebook.

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