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Rust Armorer Was On Cocaine & Mixed Up Live Round With Blanks, Say Prosecutors

Rust Armorer Was On Cocaine & Mixed Up Live Round With Blanks, Say Prosecutors

The manslaughter trial for the Rust armorer has begun.

Perezcious readers will recall Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was charged with involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence in connection to the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins. While rehearsing on the set of the Western film in 2021, Alec Baldwin unknowingly fired a live round that killed the cinematographer. Director Joel Souza also was injured in the incident. Months after all of his charges were dropped, the actor had been recharged with involuntary manslaughter — and he plans to fight the charge.

Alec isn’t the only one battling it out in court. Gutierrez-Reed pleaded not guilty to the charges against her, and the trial started on Thursday. And prosecutors went in on the 25-year-old armorer! Prosecutor Jason Lewis said during opening remarks:

“We believe that it was the negligent acts and failures of the defendant that resulted in both the acts that contributed to Miss Hutchins’ death and the live rounds being brought onto the set.”

Related: Alec Baldwin Gets A BIG Unexpected Defender In Rust Shooting Case!

However, Gutierrez-Reed appears to be placing the blame on others. During the trial on Thursday, her attorneys blamed Alec for the death of Halyna, claiming the 65-year-old 30 Rock alum “violated basic gun safety rules.”  They argued he wanted to speed through filming and did not complete the training Gutierrez-Reed requested. Her lawyer, Jason Bowles, stated:

“This scene didn’t require him to draw that weapon. Instead for whatever reason Mr Baldwin pulled it out and it ends up being pointed right at Miss Hutchins and Mr Souza.”

Bowles pointed out Alec “controlled the set” since he was the lead actor and a producer for the movie. Not to mention, the attorney noted he “violated some of the most basic gun safety rules you can ever learn” by aiming the gun at another person. A fair argument. But Lewis made it clear Gutierrez-Reed has some fault in what happened, too.

Recalling the day of the shooting, the prosecutor explained to the jury that the set had been “fairly chaotic.” He shared that several camera operators had “some concerns about safety issues on set” and “sent an email to the production team saying they were going to be quitting.” Despite being down people, Lewis said producers chose to “push ahead with filming anyway and use less camera equipment.” They were just going to “improvise and make do with what they had” instead, per the lawyer. Lewis continued:

“During lunch hour Miss Gutierrez took the gun from Mr Baldwin and she took it back to the safe, the gun safe that was loaded on a prop cart. Once lunch was over, production decided they wanted to continue working inside the church. At this point they weren’t filming anything. They were doing blocking, that is in film terms what you do before you get to rehearsal, a very rough rehearsal where the lighting director, camera operator are trying to get things so they can move into a rehearsal.”

According to Lewis, multiple witnesses will state that “for purposes of blocking Mr Baldwin could have been using a stick, a rubber gun, anything that would allow him to mimic a gun.” But of course, we know that a Colt .45 revolver was used that day. In the morning, he claimed Gutierrez-Reed only inserted five rounds in the gun. Later that day, she allegedly put a sixth bullet inside. Gutierrez-Reed took it to the church where Alec and the crew were rehearsing and gave it to first assistant director Dave Halls. Here is where things began to go wrong…

Lewis accused the two of doing a “sloppy and incomplete safety check of the gun, the dummy rounds were not removed and rattled” — an action that would have indicated that she mixed up live rounds with blanks in the weapon. What did she do instead? The production alleged:

“Instead she cracked open the gun and partially spun the cylinder to show Mr Halls a few of the rounds. They were not removed from the gun and they were not all checked. After the incident happened and when Miss Gutierrez was being interviewed she stated when she removed the gun from the safe she didn’t recheck the ammunition. When she put the sixth bullet in she didn’t check the rounds at that time either.”

At the time, Gutierrez-Reed did not check each round in the gun after pulling it out of the safe nor did she complete a second ammo check with Halls, Lewis said. What?! After handing the gun to the AD, she left the church. Halls then gave the firearm to Alec, claiming it was a “cold gun.” It was not, though. And we all know the tragedy that proceeded to happen from there. Lewis continued:

“Mr Baldwin was sitting on that church pew practicing how he would hold the gun. As Mr B was manipulating the firearm he caused it to discharge and that unfortunately sent a projectile flying directly at Miss Hutchins. (It) shot completely through Miss Hutchins and struck the film’s director Joel Souza in the shoulder. By failing to make those vital safety checks the defendant acted negligently and without due caution. The decisions she made that day contributed to Miss Hutchins’ death.”

On top of the alleged negligence on set, Lewis accused Gutierrez-Reed of tampering with evidence. He told the jury she had been in her hotel room when another crew member came over to check up on her following the death of Halyna. And what happened next was shocking! Gutierrez-Reed allegedly gave her co-worker a bag of cocaine and asked her to “hang on to it for her.” What?! Does this mean she potentially had been on cocaine around the time the shooting happened? Prosecutors seem to think so.

But that would not surprise anyone who has been following the case. They previously claimed Hannah may have been hungover when she loaded the gun. Prosecutors accused her of “drinking heavily and smoking marijuana in the evenings during the shooting of Rust.” But it potentially was a lot more than just booze and weed…

When the crew member left the hotel room, Lewis said she realized Gutierrez-Reed handed her drugs and got rid of them. For several weeks, the armorer proceeded to text this person to demand she “return her stuff.”


Things already aren’t looking good for Gutierrez-Reed — and the trial has only begun. We still have some ways to go before the verdict is in. But if she’s found guilty, she could be sentenced to 18 months in jail and fined $5,000. Reactions, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments below…

[Image via Law & Crime Trials/YouTube, Halyna Hutchins/Instagram, MEGA/WENN]

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Feb 22, 2024 14:55pm PDT