After the filming of ‘Rust’ began, investigators searched for ammunition suppliers: NPR

A rusty chain hangs from a fence at the entrance to the Bonanza Creek Ranch set, set in Santa Fe, NM, on October 27, 2021.

Andres Leighton / AP

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Andres Leighton / AP

A rusty chain hangs from a fence at the entrance to the Bonanza Creek Ranch set, set in Santa Fe, NM, on October 27, 2021.

Andres Leighton / AP

Authorities in Santa Fe, NM, are pursuing new leads in October Rust filming resulted in the death of a cinematographer and injury to the film’s director.

According to documents shared by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, investigators executed a search warrant Tuesday against an Albuquerque-based ammunition supplier.

Formerly, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said in October that about 500 rounds of ammunition were found on the set: a mixture of blank bullets, fake bullets and what investigators believed at the time to be additional real bullets.

Officers are still trying to figure out how to use a real bullet, not a blank one, used on set. A search warrant was issued Tuesday as part of that investigation.

On the day of shooting, actor Alec Baldwin was handling the prop gun during a rehearsal for the scene when it exploded – striking the film’s director Joel Souza and cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Hutchins later died from her injuries. Baldwin was told by crew at the time the gun was safe to use and had not been loaded with live ammunition.

The subpoena said that the ammunition on set came from a variety of sources including a man named Seth Kenney, owner of PDQ Arm & Prop LLC in Albuquerque, where the warrant was issued. Other shrapnel was brought to the set by producer Hannah Gutierrez Reed from previous production and from another individual named “Billy Ray,” the subpoena said.

Investigators have requested all documents collected from Kenny’s business regarding Rust, all ammunition has the “Starline Brass” logo, a photograph of the building and prop company property, as well as any evidence showing “knowledge of the crime”.

The information shared in the search warrant establishes the chain of custody of the gun Baldwin used on the day of the shooting. Other key details in the subpoena include the witness theory telling investigators where exactly the ammunition – including where the real ammunition – might have come from and how it might have been delivered into the Rust the set.

Investigators are still looking into these possibilities and no one has been charged.

Crew shares details about filming date

According to a search warrant, Reed told investigators she arrived at the scene at 7:30 a.m. on the day of the shooting to prepare a firearm. She did the job alongside her colleague and employer, Sarah Zachry.

Sometime before lunch, Reed said she equipped the guns with “dummy bullets”. She said that after loading the first 5 rounds in the gun Baldwin used later, she had trouble getting the sixth round. She told investigators she “cleaned it up” and placed another round of ammunition, totaling six, in the Colt’s chamber. 45mm pistol.

When she went to lunch, the gun Baldwin used was locked in the safe.

After lunch, Reed handed the gun to assistant director David Halls, who was “sitting” rehearsing inside the set’s church. Reed said she was rarely allowed inside the building during filming because of COVID-19 rules.

Zachry told investigators that when she checked the ammunition after the shooting, she noticed that some of the bullets in their collection “squeaked” – meaning they were fake bullets – and others. no, according to the subpoena.

“Sarah said this led her to believe that some of the other bullets in that box were real bullets,” the subpoena said.

Witnesses share theories about the origin of live bullets

According to a search warrant, Kenny shared with investigators the history of the ammunition he provided Rust movie set.

He spoke to investigators a few days after the shooting, according to the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office, and said he knew where live ammunition was used on Rust setting may have come from. According to the subpoena’s details, “a few years back” he received “reloaded ammo”, made from recycled ammo components, from a friend. He said he believes the bullet was used on Rust The set must be reloaded with ammo.

NPR could not be reached for comment.

Investigators also spoke to Hannah Gutierrez Reed’s father, Thell Reed, who also worked as a setup officer. He called the officers and told them he had been working with Kenny earlier this year on another film.

Thell Reed said he conducted weapons training for the actors on a range of guns and Kenny was there. Kenny told Elder Reed to bring extra live ammunition in case their group ran out of ammo during training.

After finishing training for the day, Kenny took all the ammunition used that day – including some for the .45 caliber colt. Thell Reed told investigators he tried to retrieve the bullet he was carrying during training from Kenny, but it remained in his possession.

“Thell claims that this ammunition can match those found on land Rust. “

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