Rust weapons supervisor jailed over fatal shooting on Alec Baldwin film set

Entertainment

The weapons supervisor for the film Rust has been jailed for 18 months following the fatal shooting of the film’s cinematographer on set.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 26, was sentenced today after being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter by jurors in Santa Fe, New Mexico, following a trial.

She was in charge of weapons during the production of the western film in October 2021, when a Colt 45 revolver fired by actor and co-producer Alec Baldwin went off during a rehearsal.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died following the incident, while director Joel Souza was injured.

Hannah Gutierrez during her sentencing hearing. Pic: Eddie Moore/Reuters
Image:
Hannah Gutierrez during her sentencing hearing. Pic: Eddie Moore/Reuters

Jurors sitting on Gutierrez-Reed’s trial reached their verdict after a two-week trial during which they heard evidence from dozens of witnesses, including eyewitnesses, FBI evidence analysts and an ammunition supplier to Rust, as well as Mr Souza, during a 10-day trial.

A statement from Ms Hutchins’ mother, Olga Solovey, was also read aloud to the court.

In it, she said her life had been split in two and that time didn’t heal, rather it only prolonged her pain and suffering.

“It’s the hardest thing to lose a child. There are no words to describe,” Ms Solovey, who is from Ukraine, said.

‘You turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon’

Handing Gutierrez-Reed the maximum sentence, Judge Mary Marlowe Summer said a conditional discharge was not appropriate and that leaving the weapons supervisor in a detention centre would “bring you a pass you do not deserve”.

“I did not hear you take responsibility in your allocution, you said you were sorry but not you were ‘sorry for what you did’. It was your attorney that had to tell the court you were remorseful,” Ms Summer said.

“The term remorse, a deep regret coming from a sense of guilt for past wrongs, that’s not you.”

She said Gutierrez-Reed’s actions amounted to a “serious, violent offence” that was “committed in a physically violent manner”.

“You were the armourer, the one that stood between a safe weapon and a weapon that could kill someone. You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon,” Ms Summer added.

“If not for you, Ms Hutchins would be alive, a husband would have his partner and a little boy would have his mother.”

Halyna Hutchins.
Pic:Shutterstock
Image:
Halyna Hutchins. Pic: Shutterstock

Prosecutors blamed Gutierrez-Reed for unwittingly bringing live ammunition onto the set where it was prohibited and for failing to follow basic gun safety protocols.

They had urged the judge to impose an 18-month sentence and designate Gutierrez-Reed as a “serious violent offender” to limit her eligibility for a sentence reduction later.

But defence lawyers said the weapons supervisor will forever be affected negatively by intense publicity associated with her prosecution in parallel with an A-list actor, and has suffered from anxiety, fear and depression as a result.

After the verdict, her legal team requested a new trial and asked for her to be released from prison.

What is happening with Baldwin’s case?

Alec Baldwin
Image:
Alec Baldwin pictured on the set of Rust

Baldwin, 66, a producer for the film as well as its star, is also charged with involuntary manslaughter and faces a separate trial in July.

He has denied any wrongdoing and his trial is set for 10 July. It is being overseen by the same judge who sentenced Gutierrez-Reed.

He was originally charged in January 2023, more than a year after the shooting. Those charges were dropped a few months later based on evidence the hammer of the revolver might have been modified, allowing it to fire without the trigger being pulled.

The star was then charged again in January this year.

Baldwin has said he pulled back the gun’s hammer – but not the trigger – and the weapon fired.

His legal team has filed a motion calling for the charges to be dropped once again. Prosecutors responded to this last week, filing a 32-page document which claims that footage of the star on set shows he had “absolutely no control of his own emotions” and “no concern for how his conduct” affected those around him.

Assistant director David Halls, who also faced charges, entered a plea bargain for negligent use of a deadly weapon last year, receiving a six-month suspended sentence.

Filming of Rust resumed last year in Montana – with Baldwin reprising his role as the main character – after an agreement made Ms Hutchins’ widower an executive producer.

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