Security guards block the Bonanza Creek Ranch Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021 in Santa Fe, N.M. A prop firearm discharged by veteran actor Alec Baldwin, who is producing and starring in a Western movie, killed his director of photography and injured the director Thursday at the movie set outside Santa Fe, authorities said.(Eddie Moore/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)
Previous Post
Next Post

By Morgan Lee, AP

Authorities pursued new leads Tuesday on possible sources of live ammunition involved in actor Alec Baldwin’s fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the New Mexico set of a western movie, as they searched the premises of an Albuquerque-based firearms and ammunition supplier.

The search took place after a provider of firearms and ammunition to the ill fated movie production for “Rust” told investigators that he “may know” where live rounds came from, describing ammunition he received from a friend in the past that had been “reloaded” by assembly from parts.

A revolver fired by Baldwin during a “Rust” rehearsal on Oct. 21 killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and left a projectile lodged in the shoulder of director Joel Souza, for doctors later to remove. Baldwin was told the revolver was “cold” and had no live rounds, investigators say.

Seth Kenney and his business PDQ Arm & Prop provided movie-prop ammunition and weapons to the “Rust” production. Kenney told a detective on Oct. 29 that “a couple years back, he received ‘reloaded ammunition’ from a friend,” and that the ammunition stood out in his memory because of a star-shaped company logo, according to an affidavit from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office that is leading the investigation.

Kenney could not be reached independently for comment. A sheriff’s office spokesman declined to elaborate on details in the search warrant.

Investigators initially found 500 rounds of ammunition at the movie set on the outskirts of Santa Fe — a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what appeared to be live rounds. Industry experts have said live rounds should never be on set.

Investigators have described “some complacency” in how weapons were handled on the “Rust” set. They have said it is too soon to determine whether charges will be filed, amid independent civil lawsuits concerning liability in the fatal shooting.

Tuesday’s search-warrant affidavit contains some new details about the handling and loading of the gun that killed Hutchins before it was handed to Baldwin by an assistant director.

Investigators say that the armorer on the film, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, loaded the gun with five dummy rounds on Oct. 21, but struggled to add a sixth round before a lunch break, when the revolver was locked in a truck. The final round was added after lunch when the gun was cleaned.

Gutierrez Reed “stated the guns were checked on set, however she ‘didn’t really check it too much’ (the firearm), due to it being locked up at lunch,” according to the new affidavit.

Another movie crew member — the prop master for “Rust” — told investigators that ammunition was purchased from at least three sources for the production.

Jason Bowles, an attorney for Gutierrez Reed, called the search for evidence in Albuquerque a huge step forward toward determining the source of ammunition on the “Rust” set.

Investigators also described conversations with Gutierrez Reed’s father — sharpshooter and movie consultant Thell Reed, who isn’t listed as a participant on “Rust.”

Thell Reed said that prior to the “Rust” production he supplied Kenney with a can of live ammunition, during a firing-range training session for film actors. Reed said Kenney took a can of that ammunition back to New Mexico.

After the shooting, the prop master on the set shook a box of dummy rounds on the set for their characteristic rattle and said they did not rattle, possibly indicating live rounds.

Previous Post
Next Post

59 COMMENTS

  1. Where the ammo came from is a sideshow.
    Who should be charged?
    Baldwin!! As the shooter and producer responsible for the loaded gun.

    • Only ONE FACT MATTERS: in WHOSE HAND was the weaponw hen it was fired? New Mexico law is plain.. da guy whut had da t’ing in his hand is obligated to check it and KNOW its status. The chain of custody up to that point is meaningless. Sure, they are “safety nets”. But the only one that matters is the one holding the gun.

  2. So as usual, they’re gonna focus on the weapon, the ammo, whoever brought the ammo, etc. Instead of blaming an idiot who shouldn’t be allowed to handle Firearms! Figgers

    • BINGO!!!

      Firearm Handling Safety Rules:
      1 – Treat every firearm as if loaded…..needless to incorporate “live” ammo specifically.
      2 – Never point a firearm at anything you are not willing and ready to destroy.
      3 – Never put your finger on the trigger until firearm is aimed at the item one wishes to destroy.
      4 – Be sure of a safe background beyond initial target.

      And, what should be the 5th Rule…..One is responsible for every bullet sent down range…..intended or unintended…..until it comes to rest safely.

      Baldwin is screwed. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving asshole.

  3. Does not pass the sniff test in any way shape or form other than it REALLY sounds like everyone trying to cover for each other while at the same time showing GROSS ignorance for firearms and proper safe use.

    • Maybe I haven’t been watching close enough? Are you telling me nobody knows how those live rounds got on the set? I understood the crew was plinking with the gun and live ammo, right along, how could nobody know where the ammo came from? Sniff test or not, that does not make any sense. Does anyone know where the GUN came from? Chances are good the ammo came with it! And what difference does it make? Is it against the law to carry live ammo onto a desert movie set miles from anywhere? Sounds like they’re getting mired in nonsense, and it sounds like that is not an accident.

      • Gets worse, Baldwin claims he never touched the trigger, it just went off by itself. All efforts are now focused on where the ammo came from.

        • Yeah, that was an unsurprising stupid thing for Baldwin to say. It will very quickly & easily be demonstrated to be false.

  4. Well, that’s new…the “Shake and Rattle” test for live ammunition. It appears that the lowest ranking member of the troupe will be the fall guy / gal for the cumulative, multiple errors in weapon and ammunition handling that occurred on set.

    Baldwin is an “unfortunate victim” in this whole mess…he will walk away without any penalties or punishment. He will continue to be an arrogant, condescending anti-gunner…except that now he can speak from actual experience of having killed another person. (do I need a sarc tag?)

    • People I know have a movie weapons prop business. Movie dummy rounds have no powder and a small steel ball bearing inside so it will look the same as a live round and you can shake it to hear the difference.

      Army dummy rounds in my distant past had several holes in them and no primer so you could easily tell the difference.

      Incompetence by at least three people including Baldwin for this to happen plus deliberate bad gun handling as numerous reports said the scene they were rehearsing did not include him firing the gun.

      • @RCC

        Thank you for the explanation. I did not know about the ball bearing…good idea! My initial thought was that they were trying to feel the powder charge “shake” in the cartridge. Most of my cowboy loads are loaded with a less-dense powder which takes up most of the space between the cartridge base and the base of the seated bullet…you cannot feel the powder “shake”.

        When I have to make a “dummy” round I follow the same guidance as the DoD using a cartridge with an obviously fired primer (or no primer) and a number of holes prominently drilled through the brass. Most (not all) of the cartridges I action test for are available from A*Zoom – I have a drawer full of store-bought bright red or bright blue dummy rounds.

    • To retain the look and feel for closeup shots, the round is loaded with a fake primer, no powder, and a ball bearing inside the case. I’m good with that.

      What I’m not good with is having a firearm with some sort of mechanical issue (locked up before lunch?) yet loaded anyway. It sounds plausible that there might have been a bullet at the forcing cone, so rather than check for obstruction, a blank is simply loaded, which could possibly have forced the bullet out the gun with lethal velocities

      • It sounds far *more* probable that there was one or more no-shit LIVE ROUNDS in the gun. The way to be certain is for the person/each person holding it to LOOK!

        • You have to know what you are looking at. The gun Baldwin had was supposed to be loaded. With what? Blanks? Dummy rounds? Did he know the difference between dummy rounds and live ammo or blanks. It would appear that dummy rounds can have either holes in the brass or a ball bearing where the powder should be. But did he know? Should he have known. And should the actor open the pistol or unload a magazine and check the cartridges himself and the reload the firearm. And if he does how does that relieve the armorer of responsibility for what is loaded into the gun?

        • Yes – Baldwin should have looked down the barrel and pulled the trigger just to be sure the rounds weren’t live.

      • The revolver was “locked up” before lunch meaning it was locked in a vehicle, not locked up as in jammed. They LOCKED it INSIDE a truck.
        Blanks wouldnt have enough energy to push a stuck bullet in a forcing cone through a barrel with all the gas leakage around the cylinder and then throw it through two people.

  5. “After the shooting, the prop master on the set shook a box of dummy rounds on the set for their characteristic rattle and said they did not rattle, possibly indicating live rounds.”

    And, there you go, right *there*, for primary liability.

    From his past history, it’s clear Baldwin has generated an extensive list of people who rightfully hate his sorry ass.

    But that doesn’t excuse his negligence in seeing for himself the rounds had that characteristic ‘rattle’ of a dummy round…

    • So, here you’re telling me that the gun was likely FULLY LOADED with live rounds? Holy dumbass. So maybe the cops are seeking the supplier of supposed dummy rounds which were not? If so, I’m betting he is in a place without US extradition by now.

  6. Well, early reports had crew members taking target practice previously with the gun that Baldwin used, so obviously there was live ammo on the set. The question is, did that ammo accidently migrate to the movie set or was it purposely sent to make a statement about safety on the set which was the cause of a walkout by some crew members earlier in the day ?

    • Oh, there most certainly could have been a large dollop of malice in that incident. I can easily see Baldwin being his A-hole self on the set to a crew member, and the crew member being inspired to ‘F’ him back…

      • Maybe in Hollywood, but that doesn’t make sense anywhere I’ve ever been. The action is actually LIKELY to get someone killed, and it’s very UNLIKELY that it will be the person who has pissed you off.

  7. Responsibility starts with the person who fired the gun. That others may be found to also be responsible in various ways does not reduce anyone’s level of responsibility.

  8. From all the articles I’ve read regarding this incident, it sounds like the dummies were the people involved with the firearm and ammo from the word GO. Not the rounds put into the firearm.

  9. describing ammunition he received from a friend in the past that had been “reloaded” by assembly from parts.

    “Ghost” ammo? Are they trying to build a case against reloading now? How about the MOST obvious question, Who the hell brought a gun capable of firing “live” ammo to a movie set to be used by some dumb-ass actor in an actual scene?

      • “Either that, or a case for serializing and tracking ammo.”

        That idea is over 50 years old, if not older. In his autobiography, G. Gorden Liddy relates the story of some FBI big-wig floating that idea, and Liddy shut it down *cold*.

        Liddy walked into the guy’s office and dropped a few rounds of .22lr in front of him and asked him “Where are you gonna put the serial numbers?”…

  10. The final round was added after lunch when the gun was cleaned. Gutierrez Reed “stated the guns were checked on set, however she ‘didn’t really check it too much’ (the firearm)

    How do you “clean” a revolver without removing the ammo and IF you are “cleaning” a gun how do you NOT “really check it too much”? This whole thing would make a great dramatic comedy horror film… What a load of crap…

    • You have to know what you are looking at. The gun Baldwin had was supposed to be loaded. With what? Blanks? Dummy rounds? Did he know the difference between dummy rounds and live ammo or blanks. It would appear that dummy rounds can have either holes in the brass or a ball bearing where the powder should be. But did he know? Should he have known? And should the actor open the pistol or unload a magazine and check the cartridges himself and the n reload the firearm. And if he does, does that relieve the armorer of responsibility for what is loaded into the gun?

  11. Now Alec the clown is saying he didn’t pull the trigger. That makes it the “Magical Gun” that goes off by itself only when in Alec the clown’s hand???

    • And it’s a SAA, right? Was it already cocked when it was handed to him? I bet he didn’t actually touch it, next, right? Y’all fanboys don’t worry, he’ll get away with it.

  12. What time frame was the movie? It seems to me that most westerns were written about post civil war until 1890 or so. Back them it was cap and ball ammo/black powder all the way. Even up into the 30s, people out west rolled their own cigarettes and did not use “store bought” ammo, since it was expensive and not so easy to get.

    This western is just more of the same with historical inaccuracies, because “those rubes buying tickets” don’t know any better.

  13. The Screen Actors Guild has an extensive protocol for safely handling firearms on a movie set. The last step is for an actor shooting “at” another actor is to aim slightly off target. It’s close enough to look like he’s aiming directly at his target but, in the event of a discharge, it would be a near miss instead of a hit. Baldwin failed to do this. That makes him guilty of criminal negligence just like an ordinary shooter. He should be convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

  14. An armorer for movies that I spoke with told me his preferred method of making dummies was to use fired brass. Drill a hole clean thru the sidewall, side to side. Polish the brass. Load one or more steel bearings in the case. Crimp a bullet over it. The used primer remains, which is just one more visual indicator it is a dead cartridge.

    This creates a rattle you can hear and feel when shaking the cartridge. There is also the visual of the hole side to side in the case wall. He said not every armorer does the hole, but the bearings to make a rattle are normal in the industry.

    In other words, it is supposed to be extremely easy to tell a dummy round, not a blank or a live round, with no effort at all.

    Guilt in this thing starts at both ends and goes in both directions. Everyone in the chain of control of the gun and the ammo did this thing.

    I’m not letting up on Baldwin. Rules of gun safety are unwavering. You do not point a gun at anything you do not intend to destroy. Period and end of story. However unintentional, and I fully believe it was that, the guilt of incompetent and unsafe gun handling is upon Baldwin.

    All other persons who failed in their responsibilities have their own guilt and punishments to be assessed. None reduces that of another.

    • “Baldwin claims he didn’t pull the trigger.”

      Anyone care to make a bet it’s his lawyer telling him to say that as a damage control move?

      Me, neither… 🙁

  15. I’m thinking Hollywood filmmaking would probably be safer if ONLY live rounds were allowed on set. Even brain dead actors can learn safe handling of weapons.

    • “I’m thinking Hollywood filmmaking would probably be safer if ONLY live rounds were allowed on set.”

      It sure would be nice… 🙂

  16. The “shake the box to hear the rattle” thing does sound strange to me. If there is one in 50 rounds that doesn’t rattle (i.e. is a live one) how can you tell it?
    Shouldn’t the rounds be checked one by one?
    And, furthermore, how can an armourer “struggle” to load a cartridge in a revolver?
    On the topic of ammo traceability… “Never let a crisis to go wasted”.

  17. The consensus seems to be it was a live round that was left in the gun. But I’m wondering if it could have been a combination of mis-manufactured dummy rounds and a blank.

    A dummy round (no powder) with a live primer left in it could have been accidentally fired earlier and left a projectile stuck in the barrel. If the bullet in the barrel went unnoticed and a blank was loaded later, the blank could push the lodge bullet out of the barrel at lethal velocity.

  18. Armorer loaded 6, not hammer down on empty chamber as is needed for old single action style guns.

    Cartridge that was tight fit happens with cast lead boolit not sized down enough on reloaded ammo.

    Armorer not allowed on set due to covid rules of company.

    Lots of mistakes to go around.

  19. Baldwin’s claiming now the “he didn’t pull the trigger.” That he would :never point a Prop gun at someone and pull the trigger.”
    Of course the “evil gun just fired all on it’s own,” diversion tactic.
    The gun in question, a Single Action Army clone, is just that, “Single Action.” This means that not only did Baldwin pull the trigger, he cocked the hammer too, as SAA’s are incapable of firing a round with the hammer down, unless the gun relied on direct hammer firing and not a transfer bar, even then, it takes a considerable shock to the hammer to enable the firing pin to hit the primer.
    Baldwin’s claim is ridiculous, but I’m pretty sure his Ambulance Chaser told him to make that claim.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here