Trial Looms as Live Ammunition Mystery Surrounding Alec Baldwin Shooting Deepens

SANTA FE, N.M. — As the trial of movie weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed approaches, the investigation into the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins by Alec Baldwin continues to grapple with the perplexing question of how live ammunition ended up on the set of the Western movie “Rust,” where it was strictly prohibited. The discovery of six live rounds in various locations on the set, including the one that claimed Hutchins’ life and injured director Joel Souza, has raised concerns about negligence and lax oversight.

Special prosecutors are poised to present substantial evidence during the trial, including photographs that indicate the presence of live rounds on the set days before the tragic incident. They also plan to introduce testimony suggesting that Gutierrez-Reed had purchased live .45-caliber ammunition months prior to the shooting. While Gutierrez-Reed faces a charge of homicide based on negligence, her defense attorneys argue that the evidence falls short of the required standards for prosecution.

The defense further alleges that prosecutors compromised a key trial witness by sharing privileged communications with Seth Kenney, the dummy ammunition supplier for “Rust,” whom they believe is responsible for the live ammunition finding its way onto the set. However, Gutierrez-Reed’s civil lawsuit against Kenney was dismissed and cannot be refiled.

The trial against Gutierrez-Reed holds implications for Baldwin, who has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and may face trial later this year. Prosecutors contend that Gutierrez-Reed loaded a live round into the gun that Baldwin discharged during a rehearsal, resulting in Hutchins’ death. Baldwin maintains that he believed the gun contained only inert dummy rounds and places blame on someone else.

Legal experts suggest that the indictment against Baldwin, which includes charges of negligent firearm use and negligence without due caution, could expand the investigation beyond his handling of the gun. However, no trial date has been set for Baldwin yet.

The use of live ammunition on movie sets is strictly prohibited, as emphasized by industry-wide guidelines and the specific rules at Bonanza Creek Ranch, where the shooting occurred. Gutierrez-Reed, as the movie’s armorer, was responsible for the storage, maintenance, and handling of firearms and ammunition on set, as well as loading firearms with blanks or inert dummy rounds.

Instances of live ammunition on film sets have had severe consequences in the past. The death of actor Brandon Lee in 1993 during the filming of “The Crow” and a 2005 incident where a crew member was shot highlight the importance of strict adherence to safety protocols.

The trial will also address additional felony charges of evidence tampering against Gutierrez-Reed, alleging that she attempted to evade prosecution by handing off a baggie of possible narcotics and recording herself bringing a gun into a bar weeks before the shooting. Defense attorneys argue that these charges are baseless and intended to coerce Gutierrez-Reed into making a false confession regarding the source of the live ammunition.

As the trial approaches, tensions between the defense and prosecutors have escalated, with both sides trading accusations of unconstitutional tactics. The defense seeks to exclude the conclusions of state workplace safety regulators from the trial, as they may shift responsibility for safety failures onto the management of “Rust” rather than Gutierrez-Reed.


Author: CrimeDoor

1 Response

  1. After reading this post about Santa Fe, New Mexico, I am inspired to make it a goal to visit this beautiful city in the near future. The rich history, vibrant art scene, and stunning landscapes mentioned in the post have piqued my interest and I would love to experience them firsthand.

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