'Rust' armorer sues film ammunition supplier over death on set

Alec Baldwin (AFP)

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The armorer on the set of "Rust" sued the film's ammunition supplier Wednesday, accusing him of leaving real bullets among the dummy cartridges, resulting in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was the armorer in charge of weapons on the Western movie set in New Mexico, where actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot Halyna Hutchins in October after being told his firearm was safe.

Film industry safety rules completely prohibit live ammunition on sets, precisely to avoid such an accident.

In her civil suit filed Wednesday in a New Mexico court, Gutierrez-Reed accused supplier Seth Kenney of providing the production of "Rust" with ammunition that was "misrepresented as only dummy ammunition," meaning it had no gunpowder and was inert, "when it contained both dummy and live ammunition."

According to the case documents, Gutierrez-Reed said police had discovered seven bullets suspected of being live after the tragedy.

They were distributed among a box of cartridges, a cart with other ammunition and cartridge belts intended for the actors to use as accessories.

The armorer and her lawyers believe that Kenney and his company "created a dangerous condition on the movie set, unbeknownst to Hannah Gutierrez Reed."

Their negligence "caused live rounds to be introduced on set, resulting in a foreseeably catastrophic outcome," the lawsuit said, seeking damages but without specifying the amount.

Kenney told investigators he could have potentially sold the film production homemade ammunition, possibly made from recycled components, marked with a logo that matched the one on the fatal round.

But he later ruled out that possibility during an interview with ABC.

Baldwin was brandishing a Colt gun during a rehearsal for the film when it discharged a live round, killing Hutchins.

Investigators have not yet filed criminal charges over the tragedy, and have refused to rule out charges against anyone involved, including Baldwin.

In his first major interview since the shooting, Baldwin said in December he had been told the gun contained no live ammunition, and had been instructed by Hutchins to point the gun in her direction as she prepared to film the scene.

Baldwin told ABC he does not feel guilty of Hutchins' death, adding that he had started cocking the gun when the bullet fired, but did not pull the trigger.