Hannah Gutierrez Reed, 24, wasn’t the only squire to star in The Rust, starring Alec Baldwin.
The film’s producers also brought in a second weapons expert: Seth Kenny, who owns a licensed weapons and props rental company in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Kenny was added to the Rust crew in late September as the “gunsmith mentor” for Gutierrez Reed, according to the Rust’s internal crew roster published in the Los Angeles Times.
Kenny, 51, offered Gutierrez Reed a job as a gunsmith, according to a person close to the production who was not authorized to comment.
He also provided the weapons used in Rust, according to six people familiar with the case, who asked not to be named due to the delicate nature of the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s investigation into the deadly shooting in New Mexico last month.
Baldwin fired a live shot from an FD Pietta Colt .45 rifle during rehearsals on October 21 at Bonanza Creek Ranch, killing cinematographer Halina Hutchins and wounding film director Joel Sousa. Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said the bullet went through 42-year-old Hutchins and into Sousa’s shoulder. Sousa was treated at the Santa Fe hospital and was discharged.
Two people in the know who spoke to The Times said Kenny provided the .45 Colt that Baldwin fired that day.
Kenny declined to be interviewed for this article, citing an unfinished investigation.
The sheriff’s detectives are still investigating key details of the shooting, including who brought live ammunition to the set – a violation of filmmaking safety protocols – and who loaded at least one lead bullet into the Colt revolver Baldwin was using.
It is unclear what ammunition Kenny could have put into production.
Santa Fe County Sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios declined to comment on the investigation Monday.
Sheriff’s deputies have seized more than 500 cartridges from the set of Rust, a historical film set in 1880s Kansas and filmed at the sprawling Bonanza Creek Ranch, a popular filming location about 13 miles south of Santa Fe. … Additional rounds were found inside the revolver that Baldwin had fired, Mendoza said last month during a press conference. The cartridges were sent to the FBI’s crime lab in Quantico, Virginia, for analysis, Rios said.
It is also unclear how much of a role Kenny played as Gutierrez Reed’s “mentor” during the production of Rust. Representatives of manufacturers, LLC Rust, and production managers, 3rd Shift Media, declined to comment on Monday.
Prior to Rust, Gutierrez Reed worked as chief gunsmith in another production, Nicolas Cage’s Western, The Old Way, which was filmed in Montana last summer. “Safety is Hannah’s number one priority on set. Hannah has no idea where the ammunition came from, ”Gutierrez Reed’s lawyers said in a statement. “Hannah was hired for two positions in this film, which made it extremely difficult to focus on her job as a gunsmith. She fought for training, days to maintain weapons, and the necessary time to prepare for firing, but she was ultimately abandoned by production and her department. ”
Several Rust crew members who spoke to The Times said they did not remember seeing Kenny on the set of Bonanza Creek Ranch.
The use of a “gunsmith mentor” for television or film production is extremely rare. Several longtime props and gunsmiths told The Times that they had never heard of such a position. One longtime gunsmith said that the oversight role is commonly referred to as “key gunsmith” or “weapons master.” Another prop master said that a more common title would be “armourer’s assistant” for younger people.
Over two decades ago, Kenny was an entrepreneur in San Clemente. Together with his then-wife, Kenny co-owned several businesses in San Clemente, including the Cheers stationery store; gift shop, Summer House; and Del Mar Bicycle Co., run by Seth Kenny, according to a 1996 article in The Times.
Kenny has worked in the film industry for at least ten years and has one major film, according to IMDb. He was listed as a “weapons consultant” in Shia LaBeouf’s 2015 film Man Down, which follows a former US Marine returning home from Afghanistan.
From 2011 to April 2016, Kenny worked at the Hand Prop Room, one of LA’s largest props establishments, which boasts on its website that it has amassed over 1 million props. Kenny ran the store’s arsenal of weapons and dealt with the set masters for shows like AMC’s The Walking Dead and films like Django Unchained.
“He came to Hollywood from Orange County in 2011.… I first met him when he was at Hand Prop,” said Hope M. Parrish, property manager at Django Unchained.
“I came to see their weapons for Django, and he was a salesman at the armory,” Parrish said. “Good child”.
Another industry source who dealt with Kenny at the Hand Prop Room said they also have a positive experience.
“He is very well versed in this area. He is a personable person who is very good at teaching people who are not that good with weapons, ”said the man, who was not authorized to speak in public. “He tuned the weapon to whatever load you want, which is very accurate, he is one of the very few who knows how to do it. When he worked there, he supplied weapons to hundreds of productions. “
But Kenny fell out with the owners of the Hand Prop Room in a dispute over alleged misconduct and missing weapons. In May 2016, The Hand Prop Room filed a lawsuit against Kenny in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleging that Kenny took some of her gun in order to start his rival business. The Hand Prop Room also claimed that Kenny was trying to siphon off his clients for his own business.
Kenny started his own company PDQ Media Arm & Prop in Georgia four months earlier in January 2016. The Hand Prop Room, in its malicious tampering lawsuit, alleged that Kenny was trying to poach one of his longtime clients, the lead prop for The Hand Prop Room. The Walking Dead. “The owners of Hand Prop Room said in a lawsuit that they learned he opened his own firm in April 2016 while working with them.
In March 2017, the Hand Prop Room asked to close the case – and, according to court records, it was.
Monty Pollack, one of the owners of the Hand Prop Room, declined to comment on his relationship with Kenny this weekend.
Kenny’s Georgia company broke up in August 2017, according to government records.
The following month, Kenny opened PDQ Media Arm & Prop in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. In April 2019, it separately listed a props company of the same name PDQ Arm & Prop, LLC, based in Albuquerque, according to New Mexico public records.
Gutierrez Reed lives in Bullhead City, Arizona, about 65 miles from Lake Havasu City, where Kenny has a residence.
Kenny’s company has two firearms licenses from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, according to agency reports. The company is registered with the federal government to manufacture most of the firearms for sale and to import weapons and ammunition. According to the records, the licenses will expire in 2024.
The licenses also allow employees of the company, also called PDQ Arm & Prop LLC and PDQ Media Arms and Prop LLC, to legally transport weapons along government lines.
Federal officials require applicants for a federal firearm license to be fingerprinted, pass background checks, and undergo a face-to-face interview. Licensees are required to keep records of firearms sales and report to ATF when multiple firearms are sold to the same buyer at short notice.
Staff writers Laura J. Nelson and James Quelli contributed to this report.