Andres Leighton / AP
Authorities in Santa Fe, NM, are pursuing new tracks into October Rust filming that left a cinematographer dead and the film director wounded.
According to documents shared by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, investigators on Tuesday executed a search warrant on an Albuquerque-based munitions supplier.
Earlier, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said in October that about 500 cartridges of ammunition were found on the set: a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what investigators at the time thought were additional live rounds.
Officers are still trying to figure out how a live bullet, rather than a blank, was used on the set. The search warrant issued Tuesday was part of the investigation.
On the day of filming, actor Alec Baldwin handled the prop pistol during a rehearsal as it got underway – hitting the film’s director Joel Souza and cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Hutchins later died of his injuries. Baldwin was told by the crew at the time the gun was safe to use and was not filled with live shots.
The ordinance states that ammunition on the set came from various sources, including a man named Seth Kenney, owner of PDQ Arm & Prop LLC in Albuquerque, for whom the order was issued. Other pieces of ammunition were brought to the set by Armor Master Hannah Gutierrez Reed from a previous production and from another person named “Billy Ray,” the ruling says.
Investigators requested that all documents be collected from Kenny’s business regarding Rust, all ammunition containing a “Starline Brass” logo, photographs of the prop & company’s building and property, and any evidence showing “knowledge of the crimes.”
The information in the search warrant establishes the custody chain for the gun that Baldwin used on the day of the shooting. Other crucial details in the ruling include the witness’s theories told to investigators about exactly where the ammunition – including where the live bullets – may have come from and how it may have come on Rust set.
Investigators are still investigating these possibilities and no one has been charged with any crime.
The crew shares details of the day of the recording
According to the search warrant, Reed told investigators she arrived at the set at 6 p.m. 7:30 on the day of the shooting to prepare the support pistols. She performed this work with her colleague and prop master, Sarah Zachry.
Shortly before lunch, Reed said she armed the weapons with “dummy rounds.” She said that after loading the first five cartridges into the gun, which were later used by Baldwin, she had a hard time getting a sixth shot in. She told investigators she “cleaned it out” and put another shot in, a total of six in the Colt chamber. 45 caliber pistol.
When she went to lunch, the gun was later used by Baldwin locked inside a safe.
After lunch, Reed handed the gun to assistant director David Halls, who “sat with” on a rehearsal inside the set’s church. Reed said she was rarely allowed to enter the building during filming because of the COVID-19 rules.
Zachry told investigators that when she checked the ammunition after the shooting, she noticed that some of the cartridges in their collection “rattled” – meaning they were dummy rounds – and others did not, according to the ruling.
“Sarah said this led her to believe that some of the other cartridges in that box were live ammunition,” the ruling said.
Witnesses share theories about the origin of live ammunition
According to the search warrant, Kenny shared with investigators the story of the ammunition he provided Rust movie set.
He spoke with investigators a few days after the shooting, according to the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office, and said he thought he knew where the live ammunition used was at. Rust the set may have come from. According to the details of the ruling, he received “a few years ago” “reloaded ammunition”, which consists of recycled bullet components, from a friend. He said he believes the bullet was used on Rust the set must have been reloaded ammunition.
NPR could not reach Kenny for a comment.
Investigators also spoke with Hannah Gutierrez Reed’s father, Thell Reed, who also works as an armor man. He called the officers and told them he was working with Kenny earlier this year on another film set.
Thell Reed said he performed weapons training for actors on a firearms track, and Kenny was there. Kenny asked Elder Reed to bring additional sharp ammunition if the group ran out of rounds during training.
After the day’s training was over, Kenny took all the ammunition used that day – including something for 0.45 caliber foals. Thell Reed told investigators he tried to get the ammunition he had brought to the training back from Kenny, but it remained in his possession.
“Thell stated that this ammunition may match the ammunition found on the set of Rust. “