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The weapons supplier for “Rust” told investigators he may have mistakenly provided the live ammunition that killed the cinematographer and wounded the director during a shooting on set near Santa Fe early last month.
Seth Kenney, owner of PDQ Arm & Prop, told Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputies he may have given reloaded ammunition to the film’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed – who loaded the gun – before the Oct. 21 shooting, according to court records.
The father of Gutierrez-Reed, well-known armorer Thell Reed, told deputies he supplied Kenney with live rounds for firearms training with actors during a separate movie shoot out of state and Kenney took the ammunition back to New Mexico with him.
Authorities say movie star Alec Baldwin was practicing a cross draw in an old church on the Bonanza Creek Ranch movie set when he discharged a live round from a Colt .45 revolver, killing Halyna Hutchins, 42, and wounding Joel Souza, 48.
Court records state assistant director David Halls had declared the firearm “cold,” meaning unloaded, before handing it to Baldwin.
Halls later told deputies he hadn’t checked the gun properly and couldn’t recall if Gutierrez had either.
The investigation by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office has centered around how the live ammunition got onto the set and where it came from.
The Journal could not reach Kenney for comment.
“No charges have been filed as of this date,” Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Juan Rios said Tuesday.
Since the shooting, which made international headlines, numerous reports have surfaced of safety concerns on set and multiple gun misfires leading up to the incident. Multiple lawsuits have been filed in connection with the shooting and Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer has leveled claims of sabotage in the incident.
On Tuesday, deputies were in the process of executing a search warrant on Kenney’s business in a strip mall in Northeast Albuquerque.
According to the search warrant affidavit filed in 2nd Judicial District Court:
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed told deputies she loaded the revolver with five “dummy” rounds before the cast and crew went to lunch. She said there was one round “that wouldn’t go in” and after lunch she “cleaned it out” and loaded another round into the revolver, making a total of six.
Gutierrez-Reed told deputies the guns were checked on set but that she “didn’t really check it too much” due to it being locked up at lunch. She said she put in the sixth round when she checked the gun after lunch.
A short time later, the gun went off as Baldwin rehearsed a cross draw. Hutchins was struck in the chest and died after being airlifted to an Albuquerque hospital. Souza was hit in the shoulder and hospitalized in Santa Fe.
Prop Master Sarah Zachry told deputies that she checked the ammunition on the prop cart afterward and found some of the cartridges rattled – as dummy ammunition would – but others didn’t.
“This led her to believe some of the other rounds in the box were live ammo,” a deputy wrote in the affidavit.
Zachry told deputies the ammunition for “Rust” was provided by Kenney, by Gutierrez-Reed from a previous production and “extra rounds from an individual identified as ‘Billy Ray.'”
Deputies found other suspected live ammunition on the set during a search and Kenney told them he got his ammunition from Starline Brass.
The affidavit offers two possible explanations for how the ammunition got on set.
On Oct. 29, Kenney called deputies and told them he may know where the live ammunition came from. Kenney said “a few years back” he got reloaded ammunition from a friend and noticed the casing that killed Hutchins had a Starline logo on it.
A few weeks later, Thell Reed, Gutierrez-Reed’s father, told deputies that in August or September Kenney asked him to bring live ammunition for actors doing a live-fire training at a firearms range outside the state. Reed said he brought an ammo can with hundreds of rounds – including Colt .45 – and Kenney took it back to New Mexico with him afterward.
“After several attempts to get it back from (Kenney), (Kenney) advised (Reed) to ‘write it off,'” a deputy wrote in the affidavit. “(Reed) stated this ammunition may match the ammunition found on the set of Rust.”