Ever since the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie Rust, the question has been, how did live ammunition find its way into a prop gun in the hands of Alec Baldwin? There have been many questions and few answers regarding just how this tragic accident occurred, but it looks like investigators may be closing in on some answers.
Based on information released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, it seems investigators are working on the assumption that the live ammunition that ended up going off on the set was part of the box of ammunition that was supposed to contain only dummy rounds. Somehow live rounds got mixed into the box, and figuring out how that could have happened is at least one of the lines of inquiry being taken. According to BuzzFeed, documents are being sought to help investigators track the ammunition back to its various sources.
Part of the difficulty however, is that ammunition apparently came from multiple sources onto the set of Rust. Some came with armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed from a previous job. Some came from a man named Seth Kenney, who owns a prop store in Arizona and was apparently also a friend of Gutierrez-Reed. Some of the ammo came from a third individual that is apparently only known as “Billy Ray.”
For what it’s worth, Seth Kenny is claiming that he believes that the mystery ammunition may have come from him. He says that some time ago he received some “reloaded” live ammunition that used the same shell casings as the brand of dummy ammunition that he gave to Gutierrez-Reed for use on Rust.
The brand of dummy rounds, called Starline Brass, apparently doesn’t make live rounds normally, so it’s possible that these reloaded live rounds that had the same branding were inadvertently mixed in with the dummy rounds. Prop Master Sarah Zachry says that she investigated the ammunition after the shooting and some of the rounds did not behave the way dummy rounds are supposed to, leading her to believe they might be live.
There were other incidents, including the use of live rounds on a project that involved Seth Kenny and the father of Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who is also a Hollywood armorer. Reed suggested that the rounds may have come from this, as the live rounds were still in Kenny’s possession at the time of the incident.
It seems quite possible that something along these lines is what led to the tragic accident. Somehow live rounds and dummy rounds ended up mixed together and the armorer had no reason to believe everything wasn’t safe. The biggest problem is that while this may end up being the most likely scenario, it seems unlikely we’ll ever know for sure.
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