According to a new affidavit, the firearm supplier for the film Rust has said that live ammunition might have got mixed in with dummy rounds and led to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins when actor-producer Alec Baldwin fired the prop gun.
The incident that happened on the film’s sets on October 21 also left director Joel Souza injured.
The affidavit released on Tuesday includes statements from Seth Kenney, who supplied the guns for the film, 24-year-old Gutierrez Reed, and her father and veteran armorer, Thell Reed.
Kenney told investigators on October 29 that he had received reloaded ammunition (rounds that are reused after being fired once) from a friend which had the same brand logo as the dummy rounds.
“He described how the company only sells components of ammunition, and not live ammunition, and therefore it had to be a reloaded round,” the investigators noted in the affidavit.
Thell Reed, meanwhile, told the investigators that Kenney had requested him to bring additional live ammunition for another film they were working on. Actors of that film were being provided live fire training. So, Reed brought 200 to 300 rounds of live ammunition, of 0.45 calibre, which he claimed were never returned to him.
Sante Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza had earlier mentioned that among the evidence collected, 500 rounds of ammunition were recovered, along with the antique Colt .45 revolver that Baldwin shot.
As per the new affidavit, Gutierrez Reed told the investigating officers that while she had cleaned the gun and was able to load it, she “didn’t really check it too much” before loading the final bullet because the gun had been locked up during lunch.
The incident had occurred shortly after, when Baldwin was rehearsing with the firearm that was handed to him by AD Halls. The AD had declared the prop a “cold gun” – production jargon for a weapon with no live rounds. Halls later admitted that he should have checked the gun before giving it to the actor.
The new affidavit also reveals that the film’s prop master, Sarah Zachry, said the ammunition came from several sources, including Kenney, a man named ‘Billy Ray’, and Reed, who brought the left-over from other projects. She added that after the shooting incident, she checked on the ammunition cans and upon shaking them, realised that while some rattled, indicating dummy rounds, others did not.
The investigation is still underway with the film production stalled for the time being.