A New Mexico judge has authorized investigators to search an Albuquerque prop firm as they seek answers to how two people were shot, one fatally, on a film set in October.
Directory of photography Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was wounded Oct. 21 when actor and producer Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of Rust, a western film being shot in New Mexico.
The warrant issued Tuesday and provided to UPI by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office authorizes agents to search PDQ Arm & Prop LLC.
According to the document, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armorer on set, told investigators that ammunition for the film was provided by Seth Kenney and that either she or the film’s prop master, Sarah Zachry, had picked up the firearms and ammunition from the prop supplier targeted by the search warrant.
Thell Reed, father to Gutierrez Reed and also an armorer, told investigators that the live rounds that killed Hutchins and wounded Souza may have come into Kenney’s possession through him.
According to the document, he said that a month or two prior to the shooting he had worked on a set with Kenney. He told investigators that Kenney had requested he bring live ammunition for live-fire training provided to actors, which he did in an ammo can containing approximately 200 to 300 rounds.
Following the production, Kenney took the ammo can, which contained remaining ammunition, including rounds for a .45 caliber colt firearm, Reed said. Gutierrez Reed had told investigators the weapon involved in the shooting was a .45 caliber colt gun.
Reed told investigators that after several attempts to get the ammo can back from Kenney, Kenney told him to “write it off,” the document reads, adding that “Thell stated this ammunition may match the ammunition found on the set of Rust.”
The document states that Zachry spoke with Santa Fe County Detectives on the day of the shooting. She told them that after the gun was fired, she checked the box of ammunition on the props cart to compare with the live round involved in the shooting, and she found that some of the cartridges rattled, signifying them to be dummy rounds, but others did not.
“Sarah said this lead her to believe some of the other rounds in that box were live ammo,” the search warrant states.
Zachry said ammunition for the film was provided from various sources, including Kenney, some Gutierrez Reed had brought from a previous production and from a person identified as “Billy Ray.”
Jason Bowles, Gutierrez Reed’s lawyer, described the the warrant in a statement to CNN as a “huge step forward” to understanding what happened that day on set.
“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,” Bowles said.
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