‘Rust’ Armorer Sues Prop Supplier, Says Seven Live Rounds Found on Set
Rookie armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed claims in a new lawsuit that seven suspected live bullets were found on the Rust set — in a box, in bandoliers, and on a prop cart — after actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during production of the Western indie film last October.
Authorities previously said suspected live rounds were seized from the Santa Fe set after the tragedy, but they didn’t specify exactly how many or where they were found.
In her new complaint filed Wednesday in New Mexico and obtained by Rolling Stone, Gutierrez-Reed goes after prop supplier Seth Kenney and his company PDQ Arm & Prop with product liability claims alleging “false and deceptive product labels” created dangerous conditions on the doomed movie set.
According to Gutierrez-Reed, Kenney “deceptively sold” boxes of ammunition labeled “45 Colt Dummies” that in truth contained a deadly mix of “both dummy and live ammunition.”
“[Kenney’s] false representations caused live rounds to be introduced on set, resulting in a foreseeably catastrophic outcome and causing damages to persons on the Rust set,” the complaint states. For this alleged “reckless or grossly negligent conduct,” Kenney and his company should be on the hook for both triple compensatory damages and punitive damages, it reads.
The lawsuit from the 24-year-old armorer comes after authorities previously confirmed they were investigating claims by Gutierrez-Reed’s dad, veteran movie armorer Thell Reed, that Kenney may have been the source of the live ammo. Kenney quickly denied the claims in an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America.
According to a search warrant affidavit from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, Reed told investigators that he worked with Kenney on a different movie near the Rust set back in August and September of 2021 and personally brought a green can filled with live ammunition to a training event with the actors.
Reed said that after the production ended, Kenney retained the ammo can, which contained a large number of unspent .45 caliber Colt bullets. (The prop gun that Baldwin fired on set, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on Oct. 21, was a .45 Colt revolver.)
According Gutierrez-Reed, who says she was offered $7,500 to serve as both armorer and key props assistant on Rust, both the live round that killed Hutchins and the other live bullets seized from the set included a Starline Brass headstamp. According to her complaint, Starline Brass doesn’t produce live bullets, only empty casings that can be made into dummy, blank or live ammunition by “anyone with the knowledge and equipment to do so.”
“Seth possessed hundreds of Starline Brass rounds from Thell Reed in the ammo can that he took from Thell on the previous movie set,” Gutierrez-Reed’s lawsuit states.
Speaking to Good Morning America, Kenney said “it’s not a possibility” that the bullet that killed Hutchins on set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe came from his Albuquerque-based company. He confirmed PDQ did supply “the guns, the blank ammunition, and 50 dummy rounds to the show,” but he claimed every dummy round was “individually rattle-tested” before it was sent out. (Dummy rounds include something that rattles in place of explosive ingredients.)
Kenney was adamant the live ammo seized from his company by investigators wouldn’t match what was found on the Rust set. “They found four rounds that were close enough to take in with them. They’re not a match, but they were close,” he said. “There’s something very unique about the live rounds that were found on Rust.”
After the fatal shooting, Baldwin expressed shock and sadness and said he was cooperating with investigators. Officials later revealed they had to seek a search warrant for the actor’s phone. In an Instagram post over the weekend, Baldwin said it was “bullshit” and that he wasn’t complying with the request. “This is a process,” he said. “They have to specify what it is exactly they want. They can’t just go through your phone and take your photos or your love letters to your wife, or what have you.”