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. The author of this post is Hank Berrien
On NBC's "Today"
show, the attorneys for "Rust"
armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed floated the idea that someone might have planted a live round intentionally in the gun that actor-producer Alec Baldwin used when he fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
show host Savannah Guthrie asked the two attorneys, both of whom are former federal prosecutors, about Gutierrez, "How does she explain how a live round got into that gun?"
Attorney Jason Bowles answered, "I think that's the most pivotal question in this case and I think that is going to be the question that we want the FBI, want the sheriff, want the district attorney to all address. We know they're going to address it; we both are former federal prosecutors. The FBI is super-competent. That is the central question to this case, which is, how did a live round get on set and who put that live round on the set?"
"She loaded the gun. Did she load a live round?"
Bowles: Well, we don't even know that, and let me tell you why, Savannah. There was a box of dummy rounds, and the box is labeled "dummy." Hannah did take from that box - which she, by all accounts should have been able to rely on - that contains only dummy rounds. She loaded rounds from that box into the handgun only later to find out there is a - she had no idea, she inspected the rounds - that there was a live round. Now we don't know, however, whether that live round came from that box, we're assuming it did, we're assuming somebody put the live round in that box, which if you think about that, the person who put the live round in the box of dummy rounds had to have the purpose of sabotaging the set. There is no other reason you would do that: that you would mix that live round in with the dummy rounds.
Guthrie: Is that your theory of the case, that someone intentionally placed a live round into a box of dummies for the purpose of it ending up in a weapon that would be used on set?
Bowles: We don't have a theory yet; we are investigating and we're trying to get all the facts. That's one of the possibilities, admittedly, that you have a round that's supposed to contain only dummy bullets, prop ammunition, that have a projectile but are incapable of being fired and they resemble a real round.
Guthrie: Why would someone do that? Who in your mind had the motive and opportunity to do it?
Bowles: I believe that somebody who would do that, would want to sabotage the set, want to prove a point, want to say they're disgruntled, they're unhappy. And we know that people had already walked off the set the day before and they're unhappy and the reason they are unhappy is they're working 12 to 14 hour days, they are not given hotel rooms in and around the area, so they had to drive back and forth an hour to Albuquerque, and they're unhappy.
Guthrie asked if the gun was ever left unattended.
The other attorney for Gutierrez, Robert Gorence, told Guthrie: "Savannah, it was left unattended from 11 to after one o'clock. Hannah actually took the - the guns are locked in a safe. The prop ammunition was in a truck. The prop truck. That was completely unattended at all times, giving someone access and opportunity. But the answer to your question is that the tray was outside the church for over two hours, unattended, after she had prepped that for what was going to be an afternoon filming session outside of the church."
Guthrie: So the gun was on the tray.
Gorence: The answer to that is yes.
Guthrie: So the gun was on the tray. She had loaded it. It was unattended for a period of two hours. Now, as the armorer, was it her responsibility to maintain custody and control of the weapon?
Bowels: She had two roles on that film set, and that's another thing we want to emphasize, that she was an armorer, but she was also a key props assistant. She was only being paid for an armorer part-time; essentially she was doing two roles. So what had happened, Savannah, is that at 11 nothing was going on at that point. She had the guns prepped; she had them laid out on the cart. They then went to lunch; she came back; she had another duty and responsibility as key props assistant, and so she had gone to do that right after she had provided the handgun to Mr. Halls. So Mr. Halls took custody of the weapon, and at that point she was doing her other duties as key prop assistant.
Bowels noted of Gutierrez: "She was absolutely devastated. She remains very emotional about everything that's happened. As you can imagine, coming on the scene and everything that she saw, she is heartbroken and she is just devastated by what's happened."
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