Alec Baldwin shooting: New search warrant suggests how live ammo may have ended up on Rust set

Theories have emerged about how a live round ended up in Baldwin’s prop gun

Maanya Sachdeva
Wednesday 01 December 2021 07:43
Alec Baldwin fires prop gun on movie set, killing cinematographer

Police have obtained a search warrant for arms supplier Seth Kenney’s office as part of the ongoing investigation into the fatal Rust shooting in October.

The fourth search warrant was approved by a New Mexico judge on Tuesday (30 November), and included a statement from Rust armourer Hannah Guttierez-Reed’s father, Thell Reed, suggesting how live bullets may have ended up on the Alec Baldwin film set where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed.

A copy of the search warrant was obtained by Deadline.

Reed is a veteran armourer and stunt-man. In his statement, Reed told Santa Fe police that he delivered an “ammo can” or cartridge box with 200 to 300 live rounds to Kenney during the “August-September timeframe” to help train actors on another production they were working on.

Reed said that Kenney “requested he bring live ammunition in the event they ran out of what was supplied”.

He added that the cartridge box was green in colour and “looked like a military ammo can”.

After the production ended, Reed said that Kenney took the ammo can, together with the remaining live bullets in it, back to his New Mexico office, PDQ Arm and Prop, LLC.

Reed also said the can still had .45 calibre colt bullets like the one that killed Hutchins on the Rust set on 21 October after Baldwin fired a prop gun that he thought was “cold” or safe for use.

Hutchins was 42 at the time time.

Rust director Joel Souza was also injured in the fatal shooting.

When Reed inquired about the bullets later, Kenney allegedly dismissed him, and later asked the Once Upon A Time In Hollywood armourer to simply “write it off”.

The statement read: “Thell stated this ammunition may match the ammunition found on the set of Rust.”

According to court documents made public by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, Kenney supplied some of the ammunition for Baldwin’s low-budget indie Western that was being filmed at Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Halyna Hutchins attends the SAGindie Sundance Filmmakers Reception at Cafe Terigo on 28 January 2019 in Park City, Utah

The search warrant revealed that either Gutierrez-Reed or Rust prop master Sarah Zachry picked up the dummy rounds from Kenney’s PDQ Arm and Prop.

Zachry told police the ammunition was procured from multiple sources, including Kenney, a previous production Ms Gutierrez-Reed worked on, and a man identified only as “Billy Ray”.

She said that she checked the box of ammunition after the fatal shooting, and found that some cartridges would rattle (meaning they were dummy rounds) while others did not, which indicated that there were more live rounds on the set.

According to an inventory of seized items that was made public on 25 October, police recovered “two boxes of ammo”, “loose ammo and boxes”, and a “fanny pack with ammo” on the Rust set.

Officers also found three revolvers and loose casings.

On 27 October, while the police were executing a search warrant on the Rust set, Kenney told them that the dummies and blank rounds he supplied to the film’s production were manufactured by a company called Starline Brass.

The Missouri-based manufacturer reportedly only sells components of ammunition, not live rounds.

During a call with the police on 29 October, Kenney offered an alternate explanation for how live rounds made their way to the set of Rust.

The arms supplier said he had received “reloaded ammunition” from a friend a few years ago. Reloaded ammunition refers to ammunition that has been reassembled from the brass casing of a fired round, with a new bullet, primer, and powder, The New York Times reported, citing a Hollywood armourer.

He added that the batch he received from his friend “stuck out to him” because the suspected live round that killed Hutchins was marked with the Starline Brass logo, meaning it “had to be a reloaded round”.

Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney Jason Bowles said the search warrant was “a huge step forward … to unearth the full truth of who put the live rounds on the Rust set”, as reported by NBC News.

Another lawyer representing the 24-year-old armourer, Jason Bowles suggested a “disgruntled” crew member placed a live round Baldwin’s prop gun to sabotage the film, on 3 November.

The Independent has reached out to Kenney for a comment.

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