Before the fatal shooting in October on the “Rust” film set, the owner of a company that provided ammunition for the shoot and a Hollywood armorer used live ammunition to train actors in a different project.
While this may not seem connected to the “Rust” tragedy, evidence may link that ammunition to cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’ death, according to USA Today. Actor and producer Alec Baldwin, age 63, held the the prop gun that killed her and injured director Joel Souza, though he has said he believed there was no live ammunition in the gun.
New details regarding the incident were revealed Tuesday when a judge approved a search warrant for detectives to seize documents, ammunition and other objects from PDQ Arm & Prop. Company owner Seth Kenney was the man who helped Hollywood armorer Thell Reed train actors with live ammunition.
In a statement to USA Today, Jason Bowles – an attorney for Reed’s daughter and “Rust” set armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed – called the search warrant “a huge step forward ... to unearth the full truth of who put the live rounds on the Rust set.”
An affidavit included in the judge’s warrant said Thell Reed told investigators in November that he worked with Kenney on a different production around August and September. He said Kenney asked him to bring live ammunition to train actors on a firearms range during that project. So, Reed brought a green “ammo can” that contained about 200 to 300 rounds not made in a factory.
According to Reed, Kenney took this ammunition with him to New Mexico after the training. Reed said he made “several attempts” to get the can back, but Kenney told him to “write it off,” said documents.
“Thell [Reed] stated this ammunition may match the ammunition found on the set of Rust,” the affidavit said of the green can ammo.
Kenney told investigators on Oct. 29 that the live round shot from Baldwin's prop gun may have been “reloaded ammunition” bearing the logo of Starline Brass, the company that manufactures the dummy rounds and blanks his business supplies to movie sets, said the affidavit.
Prop master Sarah Zachry told investigators on Oct. 21 that ammunition for the film set – located at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe – was provided through multiple sources, including Kenney. She also said Gutierrez-Reed brought rounds from a production she worked on previously.
Last month, Gutierrez-Reed’s representatives claimed she was being set up.
“We are convinced that this was sabotage and Hannah is being framed,” Bowles said in a statement to USA Today on Nov. 10. “We believe that the scene was tampered with as well before the police arrived.”
Zachry said she checked a box of ammunition after the shooting and found that some cartridges rattled, which “signified them being ‘dummy rounds,’” while other cartridges did not rattle.
"We trust that the FBI will now compare and analyze the ‘live rounds’ seized from the set to evidence seized in the search warrant to conclusively determine where the live rounds came from,” Bowles said Tuesday. “The questions of who introduced the live rounds onto the set and why are the central questions in the case.”
According to USA Today, assistant director Dave Halls also admitted to not checking the prop gun given to Baldwin properly.
“This idea that my client grabbed the gun off of a prop cart and handed it to Mr. Baldwin absolutely did not happen,” said Halls’ attorney Lisa Torraco in a Fox News interview last month. However, she appeared to backpedal on this statement and did not give direct answer when repeatedly asked if Halls was the last person to touch the gun before handing it to Baldwin.
Sheriff Adan Mendoza also responded in late October to unconfirmed reports that “Rust” prop guns had been used in off hours for target practice.
Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies previously said “all options are on the table at this point,” regarding the investigation, including potential charges against Baldwin, who has also been sued regarding the shooting.
Hutchins, age 42, was transported to the University of New Mexico Hospital after the incident, where she was pronounced dead. Souza was transported in an ambulance to Christus St. Vincent’s hospital and was later released.
Baldwin is expected to sit down with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Thursday for his first interview since the tragedy.