‘Rust’ Armorer’s Attorneys Allege ‘Disgruntled and Unhappy’ Individual May Have ‘Sabotaged’ Set

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.
November 4, 2021 Updated: November 4, 2021

Attorneys representing “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed on Nov. 3 alleged that a “disgruntled and unhappy” individual may have intended to “sabotage” the set by replacing dummy rounds of ammunition with live rounds, leading to the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Speaking on NBC’s “Today” show, attorneys Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence, who represent the 24-year-old armorer, explained that there was a box of bullets on the set that should have contained only dummy rounds that Gutierrez Reed “should have been able to rely on,” and pulled from to load the gun.

Bowles said he believes it was possible that a third party may have put a live round in the box, and that they “had to have had the purpose of sabotaging the set” when doing so, but noted that this is just one of the theories he and Gorence are currently exploring.

“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,” Bowles said. “And we know that people had already walked off the set the day before and they were unhappy.”

“We have a time frame between 11 [a.m.] and 1 [p.m.], approximately, that day, in which the firearms at times were unattended, so there was opportunity to tamper with this scene.”

Bowles later told NBC News that he had consulted Gutierrez-Reed again about the time frame and that the firearms had been left unattended for a total of 5 to 10 minutes.

The Epoch Times hasn’t verified Bowles’s claims that firearms were left unattended on set during that time period.

Hutchins, 42, was fatally shot on Oct. 21 when actor Alec Baldwin, 63, pointed a .45 Long Colt revolver in the direction of Hutchins and director Joel Souza while rehearsing a gunfight scene. The revolver discharged a suspected live round, killing Hutchins and wounding Souza, 48.

Since the shooting, Baldwin, his wife, Hilaria Baldwin, and their six young children have retreated from their homes in New York City and the Hamptons to the upscale ski town of Manchester, Vermont, where the actor and his influencer wife said they wanted to keep a low profile so he could mourn.

Also on Nov. 3, the former head of the movie’s camera department, Lane Luper, told “Good Morning America” that he quit production the day before the shooting occurred, citing firearms safety concerns and delays in pay, among other issues.

“In my 10 years as a camera assistant, I’ve never worked on a show that cares so little for the safety of its crew,” Luper wrote in his resignation letter, some of which was aired on GMA.

“During the filming of gunfights on this job, things are often played very fast and loose,” he wrote, noting that when he raised safety concerns with production, “we are usually met with the same answers about not having enough time to complete the day if we rehearse.”

On Twitter, Baldwin has reshared comments made by a costume designer on the set who claimed that concerns were “met and addressed and that several safety meetings took place.”

Producers of “Rust” said that Luper’s allegations around safety are “patently false” and that “he had absolutely nothing to do with or knowledge of safety protocols.”

“Mr. Luper’s allegations around budget and safety are patently false, which is not surprising considering his job was to be a camera operator, and he had absolutely nothing to do with, or knowledge of, safety protocols or budgets. As we continue to cooperate with all investigations, we are limited in what we can say,” producers said in a statement to ABC News. “However, safety is always the No. 1 priority on our films, and it is truly awful to see some using this tragedy for personal gain.”

Luper reiterated his concerns on “Good Morning America” on Nov. 3, telling host George Stephanopoulos that he had cited relaxed COVID-19 policies, the housing situation that required crew members to drive lengthy distances to and from the set, a lack of rehearsal, and a lack of gun safety on set in his resignation email to producers.

When questioned about his claims that his concerns were largely dismissed by producers, Luper said that “even producers had admitted they only had three safety meetings,” by the time he had left the set and that he himself only recalled two such meetings.

He also claimed that “safety bulletins” dictating how to run a safe set weren’t handed out to crew members.

“They were ignored and not attached to the call sheets, which they’re supposed to be, and unfortunately, that’s what led to a breakdown here,” he said.

Officials investigating the fatal shooting haven’t ruled out charges for anyone involved.

Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.