The lead armorer on the film production where a cinematographer was killed has released a statement reiterating earlier claims made by her attorneys that someone on the set sabotaged the prop weapons.
Alec Baldwin was preparing for a scene on October 21 when the prop gun he was handling discharged, hitting Halnya Hutchins, the director of photography, as well as the film’s director Joel Souza. Hutchins was airlifted to a Santa Fe hospital where she was pronounced dead, and Souza has since been released from the hospital.
Lead armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed has come under scrutiny as it was reportedly her responsibility to ensure the safe use of the prop weapons. Gutierrez Reed has previously denied responsibility and claimed in a statement that she was a victim of media slander. After Gutierrez Reed’s attorneys suggested on the “Today” show earlier this week that a disgruntled crew member may have put a live round in the prop gun, the armorer released a statement reiterating her attorneys’ position.
“Who put those in there and why is the central question,” Gutierrez Reed said in a statement issued to the Associated Press by her attorney Jason Bowles.
“Hannah kept guns locked up, including throughout lunch on the day in question (Oct. 21), and she instructed her department to watch the cart containing the guns when she was pulled away for her other duties or on a lunch break … Hannah did everything in her power to ensure a safe set. She inspected the rounds that she loaded into the firearms that day. She always inspected the rounds.”
As previously reported, several members of the camera crew left the production on the morning Hutchins was killed, following a dispute about lodging for crew that lived in New Mexico but worked late into the night, and felt unsafe driving home. As a Los Angeles Times report showed, there were multiple concerns about safety and a belief by some crew members that the production was cutting corners in the interest of budgeting.
On the “Today” show, Gutierrez Reed’s lawyers claimed the prop gun that killed Hutchins was unattended for two hours on October 21, giving plenty of time for someone to tamper with it. But they later said in an interview with the New York Times that the gun was left unattended for a maximum of ten minutes, and said it had been locked in a safe, per protocol, during the lunch break.
The fatal incident is under investigation and no one has been criminally charged.