Alec Baldwin ignored ‘Rust’ armorer’s request to attend ‘cross draw training’ just days before the shooting, lawsuit says

Actor Alec Baldwin
The actor Alec Baldwin at the Hamptons International Film Festival in East Hampton, New York, on October 7, 2021. Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for National Geographic
  • The armorer for the film “Rust” is suing an ammo supplier, alleging live ammo was mixed with dummy rounds.
  • Hannah Gutierrez-Reed also said in her lawsuit that Alec Baldwin did not respond when she tried to schedule firearms training.
  • New Mexico police are investigating the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchens on set.

The actor Alec Baldwin ignored a request to attend “cross draw training” just days before he fatally shot a cinematographer on the set of “Rust,” according to a new lawsuit filed by the film’s armorer.

The armorer, 24-year-old Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the film’s ammo supplier, alleging the company’s owner had mixed live ammunition with dummy rounds before providing it to the film crew. The October 21, 2021, shooting remains under investigation by New Mexico authorities.

Gutierrez-Reed’s lawsuit did not name Baldwin as a defendant and did not allege that Baldwin violated any laws. But her lawsuit appeared to cast some blame on the actor for his failure to attend training and his handling of the weapon. The lawsuit said Gutierrez-Reed asked Baldwin to schedule the training on October 15, less than a week before the fatal shooting, but she never heard back from the actor.

A lawyer representing Baldwin didn’t immediately respond Thursday to Insider’s request for comment. New Mexico authorities have issued a search warrant for Baldwin’s phone as part of their investigation.

Gutierrez-Reed’s lawsuit said she was not inside the mock church when Baldwin shot Hutchins on the afternoon of October 21, because she believed that no gun-related rehearsing was underway. She also knew that the film set’s COVID-19 protocols advised against large numbers of people crowding inside an enclosed space, the lawsuit said. 

Set of the movie 'Rust'
This aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of a Western being filmed at the ranch on Thursday, Oct. 21, killing the cinematographer, officials said. Jae C. Hong/AP Photo

The lawsuit added that no one called Gutierrez-Reed back into the church when Baldwin began rehearsing the scene, which involved a cross draw, even though her presence was required for any gun-related filming or rehearsing. 

“Hannah did not see the weapon, nor did she have custody of it for approximately 15 minutes,” the lawsuit said.

Inside that 15-minute window was when Baldwin began practicing a “cross-draw,” in which he would grab the gun from his shoulder holster with his opposite hand and withdraw it, according to the lawsuit.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins also directed Baldwin to point the firearm in her direction during that window, according to the lawsuit. It added that Gutierrez-Reed would have never permitted Baldwin to point the firearm at Hutchins had she been inside the church.

“Had Hannah been called back in, she would have re-inspected the weapon, and every round again, and instructed Baldwin on safe gun practices with the cross draw, as was her standard practice on set and under circumstances where: (1) Baldwin did not respond to Hannah’s request on October 15 to schedule cross draw training and (2) the gun had been out of her possession for 15 minutes,” the lawsuit said.

The armorer recalled struggling to load the gun with what she believed were dummy rounds

Gutierrez-Reed’s lawsuit also described her role in the hours leading up to the shooting. It noted that she had personally loaded Baldwin’s gun with dummy rounds, which could be distinguished from live ammunition by the visible holes in them.

“Hannah loaded 4 dummy rounds with holes in them from her pants pocket, a 5th dummy round from the box with a hole in it and attempted to load a 6th dummy round without a hole in it from the box but it would not go into the chamber, and she thought the chamber might need to be cleaned,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit added that Gutierrez Reed shook the sixth round “to ensure herself that it was a dummy round.”

Gutierrez-Reed then gave Baldwin the gun just after 10 a.m., and “he had continuous possession of the gun with the 5 dummy rounds loaded into it” until the lunch break at 12:30 p.m, according to the lawsuit. The armorer asked Baldwin roughly every 30 minutes, between scenes, whether he would like to give back the gun for safekeeping, but each time Baldwin responded “no,” the lawsuit said.

Rust set
A Santa Fe County Sheriff’s deputy briefly talks with a security guard at the entrance to the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. Associated Press/Jae C. Hong

After the lunch break, Gutierrez-Reed cleaned the sixth chamber of the gun and loaded it with another round from the dummy box.

“To the best of Hannah’s knowledge, the gun was now loaded with 6 dummy rounds,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also suggested that Gutierrez Reed was overworked. She was given the titles of both armorer — handling all firearm-related props — and key prop assistant.

“The Rust script was a very ‘gun heavy’ western script, with guns needed on 10 of the 12 film days leading up to October 21, and gunfire on at least half of the shooting days,” the lawsuit said. “This gun heavy script required Hannah to perform a significant amount of work each day as both an armorer and key props assistant.”

Gutierrez-Reed was paid a total of $7,500 to perform both jobs, according to the lawsuit.