Investigators may have made a breakthrough in determining the possible source of the bullet that killed the cinematographer of an Alec Baldwin movie in Santa Fe, New Mexico during filming in October.
Halyna Hutchins was killed when a gun containing a live bullet went off during rehearsal for a scene in the movie Rust. Director Joel Souza was also injured. Baldwin, who was handling the gun at the time and fired the fatal shot, was told that it was safe.
Now, according to a search warrant released Tuesday, a prop house in Albuquerque may be the source of the bullet.
Thell Reed, the father of Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and himself a firearms consultant for movies, told investigators that he had worked with Seth Kenney, the owner of PDQ Arm and Prop LLC, “in the August/September time frame.” Reed told investigators that actors in that production had received firearms training “for live fire with firearms, conducted on a firearms range.”
Reed said that Kenney asked him to “bring live ammunition in the event they ran out of what was supplied.” Reed brought an “ammo can” containing 200 to 300 live rounds.
“Thell advised that after the production ended, Seth took the ammo can and the remainder of the ammunition in the can back to New Mexico,” the search warrant says. “He said the can still had .45 caliber cold ammunition in it, and after several attempts to get it back from Seth, Seth advised Thell to ‘write it off.’ Thell stated this ammunition may match the ammunition found on the set of Rust.”
The warrant authorized the search of PDQ Arm and Prop, which was searched on Tuesday, according to Albuquerque ABC affiliate KOAT.
According to a “return inventory” released Wednesday, the items recovered from PDQ Arm and Prop were:
- Misc .45 ammo (suspected live)
- Ammo can
- Rust documents
In a statement Tuesday through her attorney, Gutierrez-Reed said that the search warrant was a “huge step forward” in the investigation.
The Sheriff’s Office has taken a huge step forward today to unearth the full truth of who put the live rounds on the Rust set, by executing a search warrant on PDQ Arm & Prop, owned by Armorer-Mentor, Seth Kenney. We trust that the FBI will now compare and analyze the “live rounds” seized from the set to evidence seized in the search warrant to conclusively determine where the live rounds came from. In keeping with the early findings and concerns of our own internal investigation, which were echoed by a detailed report in the LA Times, we also hope that there will be further investigation into the important detail about a new ammunition box seen on set the day of the shooting. The questions of who introduced the live rounds onto the set and why are the central questions in the case. Today’s warrant is a major step towards answering those questions and we commend the Sheriff’s Office and their lead investigator on their continuing tireless work to find the truth.
Gutierrez-Reed had previously said that she had “no idea where the live rounds came from.”
The fatal on-set shooting on Oct. 21 was quickly followed by confusion and finger-pointing. The film’s assistant director apparently told investigators that he didn’t check every round in the gun Baldwin used, and lawyers for Gutierrez-Reed said a “disgruntled” person might have tried to “sabotage” the film. Crew members had also walked out of the set due to complaints over pay and housing just days before the shooting, and at least two lawsuits have been filed.
Read the search warrant and inventory list below.
[Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include the return inventory from the executed search warrant.]
[Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images]
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