Young Armorer, Poor Gun Handling Seen in Fatal Shooting by Alec Baldwin on Movie Set

Alec Baldwin speaking at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con International, for "The Boss Baby", at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. / Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

ANALYSIS – While we should all wait to assign fault in the on-set fatal shooting by Alec Baldwin of crew member until the investigation is complete, various issues have already come to light.

First, why was there a live round in a “prop” gun? I personally can’t see any reason for there to ever be live rounds on a movie set.

The tragic incident occurred when a prop gun (an old-style revolver) thought to have been ‘laid out’ by the armorer reportedly misfired. But the gun handed to the actor by an assistant director was loaded with a live round, according to a warrant from the ongoing police investigation.

Other than fake prop guns, most other real guns used on movie sets are modified to fire only blanks with some sort of internal restrictor like the blank firing adapters (BFAs) used externally by the military.  The restrictor used in movies is inside the barrel, so it isn’t seen.

Though even with blanks and restrictors debris can get caught in the barrel, or the blast itself can cause injury if too close. And there is always the possibility of a faulty weapon or ammunition.

However, the assistant director was not aware that the gun was loaded since it was one of three laid on a cart by the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. Being placed on the cart supposedly meant they were “cold” or unloaded. (i.e.: safe).

The revolver’s discharge – or misfire – killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and also injured director Joel Souza.

Significantly, the set’s armorer was described as being “inexperienced and green” by a Rust production source.

One source told The Daily Beast: “She was a bit careless with the guns, waving it around every now and again.” Gutierrez-Reed, a 24-year-old former model, is the daughter of an experienced armorer who reportedly prepared her for the job.

Her dad is a former Marine who was Brad Pitt’s gun coach on “The Assassination of Jesse James.

The prop master who supervised Gutierrez-Reed on “The Old Way” with Nicolas Cage insisted that he was “stymied” by the possibility she could be involved in last week’s fatal shooting.

“I’m surprised that any of this happened under her watch,” Jeffrey Crow told the Los Angeles Times.

“I thought she was an exceptionally young, up-and-coming, very eager and talented armorer.

However, the source, who worked alongside Hannah Gutierrez-Reed on another recent film, added that: “There were a couple times she was loading the blanks and doing it in a fashion that we thought was unsafe.”

Sources say that there were at least two previous incidents of guns being unsafely discharged by other crew members before the final incident on Thursday.

Hannah previously told a podcast that she almost didn’t take the job, her first as head armorer, because she wasn’t sure if she was “ready” for it.

On the podcast last month, she discussed working on The Old Way movie, saying: “It was a really bada** way to start off a really long and cool career, I’m hoping. I just finished up working on The Old Way with Nicolas Cage, his very first Western.”

She added: “It was also my first time being head armorer as well. You know, I was really nervous about it at first, and I almost didn’t take the job because I wasn’t sure if I was ready, but, doing it, like, it went really smoothly.”

Hannah also spoke of her dad who helped to train her as an armorer: “He took me from being completely green and taught me everything I know so far and by all means, I am still learning. Dad has taught me everything but a lot of things I just kind of caught on by myself through observation, watching him do things or just knowing how the firearms work.”

“I think loading blanks was the scariest thing to me because I was like “oh I don’t know anything about it.”

Was this the issue or was there something else, like faulty blank ammunition or a live round in the revolver? Or did she simply not check the gun properly before it was ‘laid out?’  Or was there something else?

Lots of unanswered questions remain. Hopefully the investigation will illuminate. ADN

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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Jjb - 54
Jjb - 54
1 month ago

1st – And this is the BIG QUESTION:
> Why was Alec B. pointing the gun at the gal?
> Why did Alec B. pull the trigger?

You can blame other people, but those 2 questions, with Alec B.’s history have to be asked.

I’m sorry, in the END, you can look at other people, but ALEC B. is suspect at this point.

Alec B. had no reason to be pointing a gun at her, or DID HE????
Alec B. had no reason to be pulling the trigger, or DID HE???

stickytourbus
stickytourbus
1 month ago

Wow.
You really deleted my comment?
Because I corrected you?
Ok then. We got your number now.
I’ll get the word out that you censor Patriots.
That you censor common sense.
That you are nothing more than an Ad serving platform.
Let’s go AmericanDefenseNews.

Gary
Gary
1 month ago

Guns don’t kill people, people do. If it were the other way around (like the democrats believe) then I’d agree to throw all guns in jail. Safety should always be #1.

Keith Clark
Keith Clark
1 month ago

Well it looks like they found a scapegoat to blame.

Rich
Rich
1 month ago
Reply to  Keith Clark

Exactly Keith, had to find someone to tie it to and take a fall. Don’t really believe someone who grew up around firearms would be “waving a gun around” carelessly. That’s part of a narrative.

MBurkett
MBurkett
1 month ago

Blsnks used in Hollywood productions have been known to kill. Alec Baldwin aimed and Alec Balwin pull the trigger.

Ronb28135
Ronb28135
1 day ago

Baldwin’s passing the buck if he can. His supposed hatred of guns & stupidity of how guns are handled safely ALL OF THE TIME doesn’t alleviate his responsibility to have cleared the weapon upon gaining control of it.

He’s also responsible for violating another safety issue and that is pointing a gun with blanks, as he supposed it was, directly at a human being. Blank wads can put out an eye if the distance is too close. But, being intentionally ignorant about gun safety he thinks he’s going to get a free pass and let the person he hired as the armorer take the fall. Does Baldwin care about “lesser” mortals?


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