UPDATED: Jason Bowles has provided a statement on behalf of his client Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer on the set of “Rust,” adding a few extra points to the narrative around the “Rust” set shooting.
“Hannah was incredibly safety conscious and took her job very seriously from the moment she started on October 4th. She did firearms training for the actors as well as Mr. Baldwin, she fought for more training days and she regularly emphasized to never point a firearm at a person,” Bowles statement reads. “Never in a million years did Hannah think that live rounds could have been in the ‘dummy’ round box. Who put those in there and why is the central question.”
“Hannah kept guns locked up, including throughout lunch on the day in question, and she instructed her department to watch the cart containing the guns when she was pulled away for her other duties or on a lunch break. Hannah did everything in her power to ensure a safe set. She inspected the rounds that she loaded into the firearms that day. She always inspected the rounds. She did again right before handing the firearm to Mr. Halls, by spinning the cylinder and showing him all of the rounds and then handing him the firearm. No one could have anticipated or thought that someone would introduce live rounds into this set.”
Bowles and Robert Gorence, the attorneys for “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, spoke on “Today” Wednesday morning to propose a clearer timeline about how a live round got on set. Bowles also brought up the new defense that someone may have “sabotaged” the set: “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.”
The “sabotaging the set” statement made anchor Savannah Guthrie pause and clarify, asking, “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?”
“We don’t have a theory yet, we are investigating and we’re trying to get all of the facts — that’s one of the possibilities,” Bowles responded.
When Guthrie pressed further, Bowles said, “I believe that somebody who would do that would want to sabotage the set, want to prove a point, want to say that they’re disgruntled, they’re unhappy. And we know that people had walked off the set the day before.”
When asked if a crew member could have tampered, Bowles said, “I think you can’t rule anybody out at this point. We know there was a live round in a box of dummy rounds that shouldn’t have been there. We have people who had left the set, who had walked out because they were disgruntled. We have a time frame between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., approximately, that day, in which the firearms at times were unattended, so there was opportunity to tamper with this scene.”
Gorence added that “that was completely unattended at all times, giving someone access and opportunity.” Gutierrez-Reed wasn’t able to keep an eye on the firearms during that time period, Gorence said, because “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 [assistant director Dave] Halls. So Mr. Halls took custody of the weapon and at that point she was doing her other duties as key prop assistant.”
In a New York Times report later on Wednesday, Gorence further elaborated as to why the gun was left unattended. He told the Times that at around 11 a.m., Gutierrez-Reed loaded three firearms to be used later that day during filming, including the firearm in question. She put the guns in socks — a tactic used to stop others from tampering with them — and went on lunch break, leaving them unattended.
“Was there a duty to safeguard them 24/7?” Gorence said to the Times. “The answer is no, because there were no live rounds.”
Watch the full interview below: