18-month jail term for armourer on 'Rust' filmset

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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

The armourer who passed a live pistol to actor Alec Baldwin, which led to a fatal shooting, has been sentenced to an 18 month jail term.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 26, was responsible for loading prop pistols with dummy rounds on the set of Rust in 2021. Live ammunition found its way into Alec Baldwin’s pistol, and cinematographer Halnya Hutchins, 42, was killed when the gun went off in his hand.

The prosecution presented evidence to suggest Gutierrez-Reed was “sloppy” and “unprofessional”. Jurors were shown boxes the prosecution said contained live rounds interspersed with dummy ones.

One witness, crew member Ross Addiego, told the jury that the production had been working at “ludicrous speeds” and that “safety seemed to be secondary”.

Several crew workers walked off set at one point, in protest of working conditions in the hours before the shooting. Staff had reportedly complained about gun safety.

“This case is about never-ending safety failures that resulted in the death of a human being,” said Prosecutor Kari T Morrissey.

Considering the evidence, the jury deliberated for three hours before reaching their verdict. In her remarks while sentencing, Judge Marlowe Sommer said:

“You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon. But for you, Ms Hutchins would be alive. A husband would have his partner and a little boy would have his mother.”

Gutierrrez-Reed’s defence had argued that she was being used as a “scapegoat”. They insisted Mr. Baldwin’s “off-script” actions had led to the incident. “It was not in the script for Mr Baldwin to point the weapon,” Jason Bowles said. “She didn’t know that Mr Baldwin was going to do what he did.”

Alec Baldwin, 65, has said that he pulled back the hammer of the gun before it fired, but that he did not pull the trigger. He pleaded not guilty to the same charges and faces trial in July.

Research by the Associated Press has revealed that more than 150 people have been left with life-altering injuries from accidents occurring on US film sets since 1990.

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