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‘Rust’ armorer blames prop supplier for live ammo getting on set

In a newly filed lawsuit, the attorneys for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed blamed a prop company for supplying live ammunition on the set at the time cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot.
/ Source: TODAY

Attorneys for "Rust" armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed say in a new lawsuit that they know how live ammunition ended up on the movie set where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed by a prop gun held by actor Alec Baldwin in October.

In a complaint filed in New Mexico state district court by Gutierrez-Reed, 24, who oversaw firearms and training on the set of the Western movie, her attorneys allege PDQ Arm and Prop supplied the production with live ammunition.

"The ammunition boxes failed to state a material fact, the contents contained both dummy and live ammunition, which were deceptively sold," the lawsuit reads.

The lawyers for Seth Kenney, the owner of PDQ Arm and Prop, declined to comment on the lawsuit when contacted by NBC News.

Jason Bowles, one of the attorneys for Gutierrez-Reed, said on TODAY in November that "a live round, or multiple live rounds, ended up in a box labeled as dummies."

The lawsuit says Gutierrez-Reed checked the bullets she loaded from a box labeled as dummy rounds 15 minutes before the shooting that killed Hutchins.

“Hannah relied upon and trusted that (the prop house) would only supply dummy prop ammunition, or blanks,” the lawsuit reads.

The filing says officers later found seven live rounds in a box of ammunition.

Gutierrez-Reed was not inside the church on set when the firearm went off and "would never have let Baldwin point the weapon at Halyna," according to the complaint.

The lawsuit says that Baldwin did not respond to a request by Gutierrez-Reed on Oct. 15 to schedule cross draw training for the prop firearms. Baldwin has said he spent 90 minutes in safety instruction with Gutierrez-Reed.

The set of "Rust" is described in the lawsuit as a "rushed and chaotic atmosphere, (that) created a perfect storm for a safety incident."

The actor has previously denied accusations that conditions were unsafe on the set. Baldwin also shared a two-part letter he said was signed by "Rust" crew members disputing claims that the set was "unprofessional" and "chaotic."

The lawsuit comes days after Baldwin defended himself in an Instagram video on Sunday for not yet turning over his cell phone to law enforcement after they obtained a search warrant, citing family privacy concerns.

Baldwin said any suggestion that he is not complying to "requests or orders or demands or search warrants" related to his phone is "a lie."

Aaron Dyer, Baldwin’s civil attorney, released a statement to NBC News on Thursday.

“We reached an agreement last weekend with the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office and the Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office, and Mr. Baldwin’s phone is being turned over this week for review,” he said. 

He added, “Ever since this tragic incident, Mr. Baldwin has continued to cooperate with the authorities, and any suggestion to the contrary is simply untrue.

“We requested that the authorities obtain a warrant so that we could protect his privacy on other matters unrelated to 'Rust' and have been working through that process. We are finalizing logistics with the authorities in New York who are assisting in this matter.”

The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office is continuing to investigate the shooting. No charges have been filed. The production company on the film did not provide comment on the lawsuit's allegations after being reached by NBC News.