New charges in case against Rust armorer

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

When news broke of a shooting on the set of the film Rust, it sparked a lot of discussion and interest. After all, the gun was in the hand of a world-famous actor, Alec Baldwin. The victim was an up-and-coming cinematographer. It was a recipe for a massive story.


Now, though, Baldwin isn’t facing charges, Halyna Hutchins is still dead, and the armorer is the one holding the bag, apparently.

I’ve been skeptical of the case against her for a variety of reasons, but the new charges filed against her may force me to rethink that.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the “Rust” film set armorer charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, is now also being charged with tampering with evidence.

On Thursday, state prosecutors in Santa Fe, New Mexico, amended their criminal complaint against the defendant to include the new charge. They claim in the court filing, obtained by ABC News, that Gutierrez-Reed “did transfer narcotics to another person with the intent to prevent the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of herself.”

No further details about the new count were included in the filing.

We knew that there were allegations she’d been smoking pot the night before the shooting, but narcotics are something else entirely.


If Gutierrez-Reed was involved with that sort of thing, it may suggest reasons to doubt whether she is as innocent as she claims.

But that’s only if the allegations are true, and it seems these charges came out of the blue in the first place.

A lawyer for Gutierrez-Reed, Jason Bowles, responded quickly, calling the new filing “shocking.”

“It is shocking that after 20 months of investigation, the special prosecutor now throws in a completely new charge against Ms. Gutierrez Reed, with no prior notice or any witness statements, lab reports, or evidence to support it,” Bowles said in a statement. “This comes on the heels of the state letting its lead investigator go, and the investigator raising serious concerns about the investigation in an email. This stinks to high heaven and is retaliatory and vindictive.”

Prosecutors say they’ll provide that evidence in due course.

Look, if Gutierrez-Reed is guilty of anything, then yes, she deserves to be punished for this. However, considering how this prosecution has gone from the start, I’m going to maintain my skepticism for the time being.


After all, Baldwin was the only one on the Rust set that had his finger on the trigger and he isn’t facing these charges, only the relatively unknown armorer who could easily be thrown under the bus. Especially since there hasn’t been a hint of these charges before now, no mention of such a thing taking place until charges get leveled, so there is good reason to question the validity of it.

We’ll have to see what evidence there is, if any, when it becomes public.

Until then, I’m willing to accept that Gutierrez-Reed isn’t a perfect angel. I’m not willing to accept that she alone bears all responsibility for what happened.

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