The fatal gunshot that Alec Baldwin fired on the set of Rust, accidentally killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, may have been a homemade bullet that a New Mexico armorer supplied from a previous film where the makeshift ammunition was used to train actors at a firing range, according to court documents filed Tuesday.
Detectives are investigating whether Seth Kenny, a 51-year-old Hollywood veteran who was supposed to provide the film with dummy rounds and blanks, may have sent recycled bullets from a previous set, according to an affidavit filed by the Sante Fe County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators there continue to probe Hutchins’ death, and have yet to file any criminal charges.
New Mexico investigators were granted permission to search Kenny’s business PDQ Arm & Prop, LLC, an ammunition store in an Albuquerque strip mall, to determine if the bullet that killed Hutchins matches any Kenny has in stock, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The warrant states that Kenny contacted authorities late last month and told them that the live rounds on the set may have come from ‘handmade reloaded rounds’ that he got years ago from a friend, who also happened to be the father of Rust’s rookie armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, KOAT 7 reported.
The live round that Alec Baldwin fired and accidentally killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust may have been a homemade bullet, according to court documents
Detectives had approved a search warrant to probe Seth Kenny, a 51-year-old Hollywood veteran who was supposed to provide the film with dummy rounds. Kenny also mentored the film’s rookie armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, pictured above
Kenny said the ammunition ‘stuck out to him, due to the suspected live round to have a cartridge with the Starline Brass logo on it,’ according to the affidavit.
Gutierrez Reed told sheriff’s investigators that ammunition for ‘Rust’ came from various sources, including Kenney, while other crew members also identified a man known only as ‘Billy Ray.’ No further information on Billy Ray’s identity has been shared.
Gutierrez Reed’s father, Thell Reed, an esteemed Hollywood weapons expert, told a detective on November 15 that he had worked with Kenny on an unnamed film late this summer and that they provided training for the actors at a firing range, as noted in the affidavit.
Reed said that Kenney told him to bring live .45-caliber Colt ammunition in case they ran out of dummy rounds and needed to use it, the affidavit said. Reed brought an ‘ammo can’ with 200 to 300 rounds, some of which were not factory-made, he added.
Kenny returned to New Mexico with the ammo can and, despite Reed’s attempts to get the can of ammunition back, Kenney told him to ‘write it off,’ Reed told the detective. No further information has been given on why Kenney may have made that remark.
‘Thell stated this ammunition may match the ammunition found on the set of ‘Rust,’ according to the affidavit.
They believe Kenny could have recycled live ammunition from a previous film where it was used to train actors at a firing range before it got to Rust, where it was accidentally place din the gun that Baldwin fired at Hutchins, pictured above
Hutchins’ October 19, 2021 Instagram post showed cast members and staffers, including Baldwin alongside Hutchins herself and armorer Gutierrez-Reed (circled left to right) on the set of Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Authorities believe they finally have an answer as to how a live round came to be in the firearm
Gutierrez Reed told investigators that the guns were checked on set, but she didn’t check the one Baldwin used on October 21 ‘too much’ because it had been locked in a safe during lunch. She also told investigators that she had trouble loading the gun just hours before the deadly shooting.
‘Hannah stated there was one round that wouldn’t go in, so after lunch she took the cleaner, cleaned ‘it’ out, and put another round in, which brought the total to six rounds loaded into the weapon,’ Sheriff’s Detective Alexandria Hancock wrote in the affidavit.
Gutierrez Reed’s lawyer previously stated that she was not under the impression any of the rounds on the set were live because live ammunition is not allowed on film sets.
Immediately after the shooting, Sarah Zachry, the film’s prop master, examined the box of ammunition the bullet would have come from and noticed that some of the cartridges did not rattle.
Dummy rounds can be distinguished from live rounds because they contain powder with a ball bearing inside their cartridges, which give them a distinct rattling sound when shaken.
Sources tell the Los Angeles Times that they never saw Kenney at the New Mexico movie set
‘What the f**k just happened?’ Baldwin reportedly asked cast and crew members after the shot went off, and Hutchins suddenly stumbled back into head electrician Serge Svetnoy’s arms
‘Sarah said this led her to believe some of the other rounds in that box were live ammo,’ according to the affidavit.
Seth Kenny recommended Gutierrez-Reed for the job, crew members told the Los Angeles Times, and a crew sheet leaked to the newspaper lists Kenney as an ‘armorer mentor,’ a title that film crew veterans say is rarely used.
Kenney was added to the Rust crew in late September, the Los Angeles Times reports, though multiple crew members say they never saw him on set.
However, Kenney has since told The Los Angeles Times that he was never an ‘armorer mentor’ and that the crew had used the title ‘erroneously.’
‘Seth Kenney was not the ‘Armorer Mentor’ nor did he hold any other position or capacity with ‘Rust,’ and prior to the tragedy had never been to set or the production office,’ according to a statement that Kenney provided to The Times on Nov. 19.
‘PDQ Arm & Prop, LLC provided the guns, Blanks and a portion of Dummy Rounds to ‘Rust.’ Consistent with the safe industry standards, PDQ did not provide Live Ammunition to “Rust,” the statement added.
In the weeks following the shooting, several former crew members have spoken out about what they called an unsafe environment on the set.
Two weeks ago, the script supervisor Mamie Mitchell tearfully announced that she was suing the actor and accused him of playing ‘Russian Roulette’ when he fired a gun without checking it first to make sure it was not loaded, and further claimed that the scene being filmed did not call for the firing of the gun.
Mamie Mitchell (left) and attorney Gloria Allred laid out their lawsuit regarding the shooting – which alleges assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and deliberate infliction of harm
The suit names 22 defendants associated with the film, including Baldwin, Rust producers, six production companies – El Dorado Pictures, Thomasville Pictures, Short Porch Pictures, Brittany House Pictures, 3rd Shift Media and Streamline Global – armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, First Assistant Director David Halls and others.
Mitchell, a 40-year industry veteran, was standing close to Hutchins when the bullet fired from Baldwin’s gun killed her and then injured director Joel Souza.
The suit claims assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and deliberate infliction of harm. It also states that the scene being shot did not require a gun to be fired.
‘I ran out and called 911 and said, “Bring everybody, send everybody,”’ Mitchell said during a press conference. ‘This woman is gone at the beginning of her career. She was an extraordinary, rare, very rare woman.’
Serge Svetnoy, the head electrician on who held Hutchins in his arms as she died has also sued Baldwin, Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director David Halls over ‘severe emotional distress’ after the fatal shooting and revealed that the scene did not call for Baldwin to fire the gun.
Svetnoy filed the suit against the three crew members – as well as others, who remain unnamed – and claimed that their alleged negligence led to the shooting and put him in emotional turmoil.
Svetnoy alleged in the court documents that the bullet struck director Joel Souza, 48, and killed Hutchins nearly hit him, too, according to TMZ.
He also said that he was one of the first people to tend to Halyna while she was bleeding out and attempted to keep her conscious.
He told TMZ that he’s suing Baldwin because he ‘owed a duty to the Plaintiff and other crew members and actors on the “Rust” set to handle the Colt Revolver provided to him by Defendant Halls with reasonable care and diligence for the safety of “Rust” cast and crew.’
Head electrician on the Rust movie set Serge Svetnoy (left), who held dying Hutchins (right) in his arms has sued Baldwin, rookie armorer Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director Halls over ‘severe emotional distress’ after the fatal shooting
Lane Luper, who served as the film’s A-camera first assistant, said he quit one day before the fatal shooting because employees were being overworked, COVID-safety was not being enforced properly and gun safety was poor.
‘I think with Rust, it was the perfect storm of the armorer, the assistant director, the culture that was on set, the rushing. It was everything,’ he told Good Morning America about the events that led up to the fatal shooting.
‘It wasn’t just one individual. Everything had to fall into place for this one-in-a-trillion thing to happen.’
In his letter of resignation, Luper said there had been two accidental weapon discharges on set and one accidental sound-effects explosion that went off around the crew.
‘There have been NO explanations as to what to expect for these shots. When anyone from production is asked we are usually met with the same answers about not having enough time to complete the day if we rehearse or that “this is a 21 day shoot,”‘ Luper wrote in the letter.
He added that the crew grew exhausted of long commutes from the set to their lodging, which for some more than two hours away.
‘In my 10 years as a camera assistant I’ve never worked on a show that cares so little for the safety of its crew,’ Luper said.
In a statement to Sky News, a spokesperson for the producers hit back at his claims, saying: ‘Mr. Luper’s allegations around budget and safety are patently false, which is not surprising considering his job was to be a camera operator, and he had absolutely nothing to do with it or knowledge of safety protocols or budgets.
‘As we continue to cooperate with all investigations, we are limited in what we can say,’ the spokesperson continued. ‘However, safety is always the number one priority.’