Rust film set shooting: gun armourer’s trial to start in New Mexico

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed (25) faces involuntary manslaughter and tampering charges after Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer

The trial of a gun armourer on the New Mexico film set where the actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer while rehearsing a scene for the neo-western Rust in October 2021 is set to start on Wednesday with jury selection.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed (25) faces involuntary manslaughter and tampering charges for loading a fully functioning .45 revolver with dummy rounds and at least one live round – then handing the gun to Mr Baldwin, who was pointing it at Halyna Hutchins when it went off. The bullet also injured the director Joel Souza.

Mr Baldwin, the lead actor and co-producer of the western being filmed in New Mexico, also faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and faces a similar sentence to Ms Gutierrez-Reed if convicted: up to 18 months in prison.

Mr Baldwin’s trial date has not been set; but, like Ms Gutierrez-Reed, he has pleaded not guilty. He claims that he pulled back the hammer of the gun, but did not pull the trigger.


Ms Gutierrez-Reed’s trial is certain to be closely watched by the actor’s defence lawyers because much of the prosecution evidence set to be presented in her case may also be used at his trial.

Investigators ultimately found six live rounds on the set, including some in a box of supposed dummy ammunition, in a gun belt worn by the actor Jensen Ackles and in the bandolier worn by Mr Baldwin.

Santa Fe judge Mary Marlowe Sommer recently ruled that jurors would be allowed to hear evidence from text messages that Ms Gutierrez-Reed was drinking alcohol as well as ingesting marijuana and cocaine the night before the fatal shooting occurred.

The judge said prosecutors had successfully argued that the tampering and involuntary manslaughter charges were connected by the “same conduct or series of acts”.

Mr Baldwin was charged in January with involuntary manslaughter after having an earlier set of charges dropped “with prejudice”. Prosecutors allege the actor’s negligence – or “total disregard or indifference for safety” – caused Ms Hutchins’s death.

The actor said after the fatal shooting that “there are incidental accidents on film sets from time to time, but nothing like this – this is a one-in-a-trillion episode.”

Last year, Rust’s first assistant director, David Halls, was sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation after pleading guilty to unsafe handling of a firearm when he handed Baldwin the revolver. – Guardian