Rust Armorer Found Guilty Of Involuntary Manslaughter

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

From the moment the news of a shooting on the set of the Alec Baldwin film Rust, we've been covering what happened. There's been a lot of dispute over who is responsible, but much of it boiled down to either or both Alec Baldwin, who was holding the gun when it fired, and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer.


One other party, an assistant director who handed the gun to Baldwin, reached an agreement with prosecutors, leaving those two looking down the barrel of prosecution.

And now, Reed has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

The armorer who loaded the gun that killed a cinematographer on the set of the Alec Baldwin movie "Rust" was convicted Wednesday of involuntary manslaughter.

A jury in New Mexico took just over two hours to find Hannah Gutierrez guilty over the death of Halyna Hutchins in October 2021 during filming of the budget Western.

A 10-day trial heard how Gutierrez had been ultimately responsible for the use of live rounds on set -- a red line across the industry.

The court had also heard how she had repeatedly failed to adhere to basic safety rules, leaving guns unattended, and allowing actors -- including Baldwin -- to wave weapons around.

"This is not a case where Hannah Gutierrez made one mistake and that one mistake was accidentally putting a live round into that gun," prosecutor Kari Morrissey told the jury in her closing argument Wednesday.

"This case is about constant, never-ending safety failures that resulted in the death of a human being and nearly killed another."

Hutchins was hit by a live round fired from the Colt .45 that Baldwin was holding for a scene inside a wooden church on the New Mexico set. Director Joel Souza was wounded by the same bullet.


Among the claims heard in cord is that Gutierrez--how Reed is listed in this article--was "haphazard" in her supervision of the 20 or so firearms used in the production, allowing actors to wave them around, and that she failed to inspect rounds to make sure they were, in fact, dummy rounds.

In other words, she screwed the pooch plenty.

Much of that may have been that she was working as an armorer for the first time, lacking the gravitas of a more experienced person, and was uncomfortable cracking down on misuse by actors. That doesn't account for failing to inspect rounds to make sure they were what they were supposed to be.

And if all that is accurate, then yeah, she's guilty of involuntary manslaughter, which is really a case where negligence leads to a fatality.

However, it's also pretty clear from the evidence presented in court that Hannah isn't the only one guilty, at least based on my reading of what transpired.

Actor and gun control activist Alec Baldwin has long maintained the gun "just went off." Experts testified in this trial that the gun couldn't have, that he must have pulled the trigger, even if unintentionally. Since that was not something he should have been doing at that point in time, it seems likely that he'll be facing justice as well.


The only thing that I think will save him that failed to save Gutierrez is that he's got deeper pockets and can afford better lawyers. Even then, though, I don't see how he can wriggle out of this one, especially based on what we know and have known for months now.

Still, his trial is set to begin in July.

As for Gutierrez, she was remanded into custody until her sentencing trial, which isn't set to begin until next month. She faces up to 18 months in prison.

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