A new lawsuit on Wednesday accused an ammunition supplier of creating dangerous conditions on the set of a film where a gun held by actor Alec Baldwin killed the cameraman by placing live ammunition in a box that was supposed to contain only dummy bullets.
The lawsuit was filed in New Mexico District Court by Hannah Gutierrez Reid, a gunsmith who, along with two colleagues, oversaw firearms, ammunition, and related training on the set of Rust. Filmmaker Halina Hutchins died on October 21 from a gunshot wound while rehearsing for Rust at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe in northern New Mexico.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the cause of death, said it was too early to determine whether charges would be filed. Investigators described “some smugness” in the way guns were handled on set.
The Gutierrez Reed lawsuit blames ammunition supplier Seth Kenny and his company PDQ Arm & Prop for using live ammunition on a set where only blanks and dummies should have been present.
“The unanticipated arrival of live ammunition on set, combined with the atmosphere of rush and chaos, created the perfect storm for a security incident,” the lawsuit says.
Kenny could not be reached for comment. He previously stated that he was confident that his company did not send live ammunition to the Rust set.
The lawsuit adds new details to the arms and ammunition storage chain on the set of The Rust on October 21st, describing the arrival of a new ammo box – supposedly harmless dummy rounds with no explosives – shortly before the revolver was loaded and handed over to Baldwin.
Baldwin said he did not know the gun he was holding contained a live round when he fired, pointing it at Hutchins. Investigators are trying to figure out where the live round came from by searching the premises of PDQ Arm & Prop in Albuquerque in December.
The new lawsuit seeks damages in a jury trial for allegations of unfair trade practices, the introduction of dangerous products, and counterfeit labels and misrepresentation.
It states that authorities found “allegedly seven live rounds of ammunition distributed inside an ammo box, on an ammo cart and in bandoliers” on the set.
The lawsuit also accuses Kenny of interfering with the investigation and trying to frame Gutierrez Reed.
Authorities found hundreds of rounds of ammunition on the set of Rust, a mixture of blanks, dummy rounds, and rounds that appeared to be live rounds.
Authorities issued a warrant to search Baldwin’s phone for text messages, images, videos, calls, or any other information related to the film.