The 24-year-old armorer who handed over the gun to Alec Baldwin on the set of 'Rust' that accidentally killed the film's cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, reportedly once gave a prop gun with live rounds to an child actress without checking it on a previous film set. According to two sources quoted by the Daily Beast, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed avoided risk of another tragedy on the set of Nicolas Cage's 'The Old Way'.
Gutierrez-Reed is being blamed for the accident on the set of 'Rust' as she thought that the gun that was used by Baldwin during the shoot was safe for use. It is understood that Gutierrez-Reed's inexperience cost the life of Hutchins, who died on the set, while film's director Joel Souza was seriously wounded.
The two sources quoted by the Daily Beast said that Gutierrez-Reed during the shoot of The Old Way gave a prop gun with live rounds to an 11-year-old actress. The crew started panicking so much that filming had to be stopped briefly.
"She was a bit careless with the guns, waving it around every now and again," said one of the sources, who worked alongside Gutierrez-Reed on The Old Way. "There were a couple times she was loading the blanks and doing it in a fashion that we thought was unsafe."
Sources on the Rust set said the fatal incident that killed Hutchins, 42, and injured Souza, 48, was a result of production failings from top to bottom. Besides Gutierrez-Reed a lot of the blame goes to film's assistant director Dave Halls, who finally handed the gun to Baldwin and told him it was safe.
Halls also failed to check the weapon. "He's supposed to be our last line of defense and he failed us," one of the sources on set said. "He's the last person that's supposed to look at that firearm."
However, the basic fault still lies with Gutierrez-Reed, who the source described as "inexperienced and green."
Inexperienced and Nervous
A search warrant released on Friday said that Gutierrez-Reed kept three prop guns on a cart outside the filming location. Halls grabbed one of the guns from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds. Gutierrez-Reed was confident the gun was safe and she passed on the message to Halls, who confidently gave the gun to Baldwin.
Baldwin while shooting a scene discharged the gun, fatally striking Hutchins and injuring Souza. No charges have been brought but the sheriff's office's investigation is ongoing.
That said, Gutierrez-Reed had had previously admitted she wasn't sure she was ready for the job on 'The Old Way' in an interview before filming started. She said that she was 'nervous' and had training mostly in the last couple of years from her father, legendary gunsmith Thell Reed.
"I almost didn't take the job because I wasn't sure if I was ready, but doing it, it went really smoothly," Gutierrez-Reed said in a podcast interview last month after leading the firearms department for 'The Old Way' where she worked as the head armorer for the first time.
She also admitted during the podcast interview that she found loading blanks into a gun "the scariest" thing because she did not know how to do it and overcame the fear after taking help from her father.
That said, crew members of 'Rust' were concerned over the safety condition on the film's set from the beginning. Many of the members had protested and even left the film including the head armorer. Gutierrez-Reed was hired only lately as a replacement.
According to a source, there were at least two previous incidents of guns being accidentally discharged by other crew members before Thursday's tragic incident.