Lawyers for “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed are pushing back against claims about her level of experience and asked why live ammunition made it onto the Alec Baldwin movie set before the Baldwin-involved shooting death of photo director Halyna Hutchins last month.
“Never in a million years did Hannah think that live rounds could have been in the ‘dummy’ round box,” one of the armorer’s attorneys, Jason Bowles, said in a statement to Fox News on Thursday. “Who put those in there and why is the central question.”
Bowles earlier this week appeared on the “Today” show and claimed that Gutierrez loaded the gun used during filming with a box labeled “dummy,” only to find that there was a live round inside after the fatal shooting incident.
Bowles also suggested that someone could “put the live round in the box of dummy rounds [with] the purpose of sabotaging the set.”
“I believe that somebody who would do that would want to sabotage the set, want to prove a point, want to say that they’re disgruntled, they’re unhappy,” he added, without explaining why. “And we know that people had already walked off the set the day before.”
“She inspected the rounds that she loaded into the firearms that day,” Bowles said. “She always inspected the rounds. She did again right before handing the firearm to Mr. Halls, by spinning the cylinder and showing him all of the rounds and then handing him the firearm.”
But a camera operator on the “Rust” set, Lane Luper, dismissed the “sabotage” allegation.
“It’s dangerous, and it’s an irresponsible theory to put out on TV,” Luper told CNN this week, adding that “if they have any evidence of that, they should be, you know, talking to the sheriff and not morning television shows.”
Baldwin, who has issued few public statements after the shooting, offered comments to reporters during an impromptu question-and-answer session in rural Vermont over the past weekend.
Speaking of Hutchins, Baldwin said that “she was my friend.” He added, “We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together and then this horrible event happened.”
“As I said, we are eagerly awaiting for the sheriff’s department to tell us what their investigation has yielded,” the 63-year-old actor said, adding that it was a “one in a trillion” event.
Investigators believe Baldwin’s gun fired a single live round that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza.
Baldwin was joined by his wife, Hilaria, when he spoke to photographers and she filmed the exchange with her smartphone, often trying to get her husband to stop talking. Baldwin said he was speaking out so that the photographers would stop following his family.
Investigators in New Mexico where the shooting occurred have said that there was “some complacency” in how weapons were handled on the movie set but it’s too soon to determine whether charges will be filed.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza also said his office recovered about 500 rounds of ammunition while searching the set. During a news conference, neither he nor the district attorney has ruled out any charges in connection to the shooting.
No charges have been filed so far.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.