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After 'Rust' shooting, investigators search Albuquerque weapons provider

Meg James and Wendy Lee, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office released new documents Tuesday that shed more light on how live ammunition may have gotten on the set of the Alec Baldwin western "Rust" and then loaded into a Colt .45 single-action revolver before the fatal shooting.

"Rust" armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed told sheriff's investigators that she had trouble loading the weapon on Oct. 21, just hours before Baldwin fired a live round that killed the film's cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and injured the director, Joel Souza, according to an affidavit for a search warrant filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office.

"Hannah stated there was one round that wouldn't go in, so after lunch she took the cleaner, cleaned 'it' out, and put another round in, which brought the total to six rounds loaded into the weapon," Sheriff's Det. Alexandria Hancock wrote in the affidavit.

Gutierrez Reed's lawyer has said that the 24-year-old armorer didn't realize that any of the rounds were live bullets. Live ammunition is not allowed on film sets.

When asked by investigators who supplied ammunition for the guns, Gutierrez Reed identified weapons provider Seth Kenney, according to the affidavit. Another New Mexico armorer, Billy Ray, was also named in the documents as a potential source for "additional rounds" of ammunition that were used during the 12 days of filming.

On Tuesday, a judge authorized a search of Kenney's PDQ Arm & Prop LLC in Albuquerque. Among the items to be seized were documentation in relation to "Rust," gun cleaning equipment, ammunition containing the Starline Brass logo "for evidence comparison" and any surveillance video from his shop, according to the affidavit.

 

Kenney told a detective on Oct. 29 that "he may know where the live rounds came from," adding that a couple of years ago, he received "reloaded ammunition" from a friend. He said the ammunition "stuck out to him, due to the suspected live round to have a cartridge with the Starline Brass logo on it," according to the affidavit.

Gutierrez Reed's father, Thell Reed, a noted weapons expert on Hollywood films, told a detective on Nov. 15 that he had worked on a previous production with Kenney in August or September. He said they had provided training for the actors at a firing range, the affidavit stated.

Thell Reed said that Kenney had requested that Reed bring live ammunition "in the event that they ran out of what was supplied," the affidavit said.

Reed said he brought an "ammo can" with live ammunition with 200 to 300 rounds, including ammunition that was not factory-made. Reed told the investigators that Kenney returned to New Mexico with the can that still contained .45-caliber Colt ammunition. Despite Reed's attempts to get the can of ammunition back, Kenney told him to "write it off," Reed told the detective.

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