Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed’s lawyers have blamed the Alec Baldwin film producers for allowing an “unsafe” set for the accidental shooting that took the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, but two of her former colleagues sound less than convinced in recently released text messages.
On Monday, nearly a week after New Mexico fined the indie Western $ 136,793 for failing to follow safety procedures, Santa Fe police released all documents pertaining to their ongoing investigation into the incident. No charges have been brought, and authorities are still working to determine how a live round made it into Baldwin’s prop gun as well as how the bullet went unnoticed during safety inspections. The documents released Monday include a police interview with Baldwin, crime scene photos, and phone records from various crew members.
Also of particular interest, perhaps, is a furious exchange in which Rust prop master Sarah Zachry and costume designer Terese Davis discuss Reed and her lawyers’ remarks about the accidental shooting and the conditions that caused it.
As Reed has said and emails from before the shooting reviewed by the Los Angeles Times indicate, the armorer appears to have worked two jobs on the low-budget film, at least at first. As line producer Gabrielle Pickle put it to Reed weeks before the accident, “We hired you as both Armor and Key Assistant Props.”
In an email to Pickles, Reed reportedly replied, “Since we’ve started, I’ve had a lot of days where my job should only be to focus on the guns and everyone’s safety … When I’m forced to do both [jobs]that’s when mistakes get made. ”
Davis and Zachry’s texts — reviewed from the police release by The Daily Beast — cast aspersions on how much time Reed ever spent on prop work and rail against her lawyers’ defense tactics.
“Do you have records of conversations with production about the fact that she wasn’t doing her job as a master?” Davis asks the prop master in a text from October 29. The prop master insists, “Hannah NEVER helped with Props. The only time she did was when I was off set a couple times. That’s why we got a buyer so they could help pick up her slack. ”
In a statement released shortly after the accident last year, Reed’s attorney Jason Bowles wrote, “Safety is Hannah’s number one priority on set. Ultimately this set would never have been compromised if live ammo were not introduced. Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from. ”
“Hannah was hired on two positions on this film, which made it extremely difficult to focus on her job as an armorer,” the statement added. “She fought for training, days to maintain weapons, and proper time to prepare for gunfire but ultimately was overruled by production and her department. The whole production set became unsafe due to various factors, including lack of safety meetings. This was not Hannah’s fault. ” (The Daily Beast reached out to Reed’s lawyers for additional comment regarding the trove of documents released, but they declined.)
In her conversation with Davis, Zachry writes, “I can’t believe Hannah said‘ her department ’denied her more training time with the guns. I HAD THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME TO PREP AS HER. ”
“She also apparently used these same type of guns on the Nick Cage movie right before this production,” Zachry added, “so she knew how to use the guns.”
“She also apparently used these same type of guns on the Nick Cage movie right before this production, so she knew how to use the guns.”
The Cage film in question would be The Old Way. While working on that film, a source told The Daily Beast that Reed — the daughter of veteran Hollywood armorer Thell Reed— “was a bit careless with the guns, waving it around every now and again … There were a couple times she was loading the blanks and doing it in a fashion that we thought was unsafe. ” Reed did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment at the time.
While discussing Reed’s response to the deadly Rust accident with Zachry, costume designer Davis said, “She’s gross. I’m so disugusted [sic] by her right now. She fucked up. She got someone killed. And rather than take responsibility and face it, she’s trying to take everyone else down with her. ”
In a later message, Davis writes that Reed “didn’t do her job properly. And she had plenty of time to do so because we had extra time that morning while camera was fucking off. So she can say what she wants about training time and all that bullshit but it’s not why she killed Halyna. ”
“There are protocols in place that would have prevented Halyna’s death if Hannah had been following them,” Davis adds later. “She broke SO many, by her own admission. That’s willful negligence. She’s liable. She’ll go down for manslaughter. ”
Reed sued Rust ‘S weapons supplier in January, alleging that the company provided a contaminated box of dummy bullets that contained at least one live round. Last week, she and her attorneys celebrated a minor victory as New Mexico’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau released the findings of a six-month investigation that ended with a massive fine for Rust‘s producers.
In a video statement regarding the state’s decision, New Mexico’s Environmental Cabinet Secretary James Kenney said that “serious management failures” plagued the production, and that if standard industry practices were followed, the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins and the serious injury to Joel Souza would not have occurred. ”
In a statement to Deadline, Reed’s lawyer Jason Bowles wrote, “After OSHA’s very comprehensive safety investigation involving numerous interviews and review of documents, it has concluded that production willfully failed to follow national gun safety standards, which caused this tragedy … OSHA found that Hannah Gutierrez Reed was not provided adequate time or resources to conduct her job effectively, despite her voiced concerns. ”