AceShowbiz - "Rust" armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed's lawyers believe sabotage is behind the drama that cost cinematographer Halyna Hutchins her life on set last month (Oct21).
Actor Alec Baldwin shot and killed Hutchins during a rehearsal for a scene after he was handed a loaded gun and mistakenly told it was a prop weapon, full of blanks.
Baldwin, Gutierrez-Reed, and assistant director Dave Halls are among the people helping police officials with their investigation in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as they attempt to determine how real ammunition was loaded into a prop gun, and now the armourer's attorneys are linking the tragic accident to reports of "disgruntled" crew members.
"I believe that somebody who would do that (add a real bullet) would want to sabotage the set, want to prove a point, want to say that they're disgruntled, they're unhappy," Jason Bowles told American morning show "Today" on Wednesday (03Nov21).
"We know that people had walked off the set the day before... I think you can't rule anybody out at this point. We know there was a live round in a box of dummy rounds that shouldn't have been there. We have people who had left the set, who had walked out because they were disgruntled. We have a time frame between 11(am) and 1(pm) approximately, that day, in which the firearms at times were unattended, so there was opportunity to tamper with this scene."
Bowles also told "Good Morning America" his client double-checked the gun before it was given to Baldwin, adding, "She did spin the cylinder, she showed Mr. Halls each of the rounds. There were six dummy rounds that she had loaded into that firearm that she believed had been dummy rounds... She gave it to Mr. Halls... It was not given to Mr. Baldwin by Hannah."
On Friday (29Oct21), authorities found a live .45 caliber round in the Rust prop cart, leading Robert Gorence, the armourer's second attorney, to claim it "was completely unattended at all times, giving someone access and opportunity."
The Sheriff's Department also found 500 rounds of bullets which were a mix of dummies, blanks, and what was believed to be live rounds, according to NBC News.
A statement released on behalf of the 24-year-old armourer on Friday read, "Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from. Hannah and the prop master gained control over the guns and she never witnessed anyone shoot live rounds with these guns and nor would she permit that."
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza told "Today" last week that their investigation is focused on Gutierrez-Reed and Halls and it could take months.
Meanwhile, New Mexico's District Attorney, Mary Carmack-Altwies, has not ruled out criminal charges. She told the New York Times last week she was aware of reports that crew members had used guns with live ammunition for target practice hours before the shooting, but insisted the reports were "unconfirmed."