Attorney for ‘Rust’ set armorer blames “sabotage,” not his client, for fatal on-set shooting

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Jason Bowles, the attorney for Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, told Michael Strahan on ABC’s Good Morning America Wednesday that there may be more to the fatal on-set shooting than meets the eye.

Without presenting evidence, Bowles blamed “sabotage” for the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, in the incident that also injured director Joel Souza.

Just days after an attorney for assistant director Dave Halls blamed October 21’s deadly mishap on Reed, who was responsible for the Western film’s firearms, Bowles floated the new idea. “We’re afraid…that somebody intended to sabotage this set with a live round intentionally placed in a box of dummies,” he told Strahan.

Dummy rounds look on screen like real bullets, but cannot be fired.

Before the shooting occurred, Bowles claims that Reed left the box of dummy rounds unattended while she went to lunch.

“[F]irst of all you wouldn’t bring a live round on the set but second of all, why do you place that in the box labeled dummies that the armorer is going to be pulling from?” Bowles asked rhetorically, adding, “There is no purpose for a live round on this set, zero.”

In fact, investigators have said publicly that 500 rounds of ammunition were found on the Rust set, a mix of dummy rounds, blank rounds — that is, rounds with primer and powder but no projectile — and live ammunition.

“They wanted to do something to cause a safety incident on set. That’s what we believe happened,” Bowles said.

The attorney insisted that before the shooting, his client Gutierrez-Reed showed the revolver star Alec Baldwin fired to Halls, who later reportedly handed it to Baldwin after declaring it was “cold” — that is, it didn’t contain any live rounds.

“She showed Mr. Halls each of the rounds, there were six dummy rounds that she had loaded…she believed [they were] dummy rounds…”

Bowles also insisted that while Rust was only Gutierrez-Reed’s second film, the 24-year-old was “very experienced,” declaring, “And the reason is her father, longtime person in the industry, very well respected, he taught her literally from the age of 10…”

Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney also denied reports crew members were using downtime to use the on-set guns for target practice, saying, “[Hanna] doesn’t believe that happened.”

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