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Ammunition supplier "created a perfect storm" for deadly "Rust" shooting, lawsuit says

Alec Baldwin says he "didn't pull the trigger"
Alec Baldwin says he "didn't pull the trigger" 01:50

The armorer for the film "Rust" has sued the man who supplied the ammunition and guns for the movie, accusing him and his company of providing a combination of dummy and live rounds. Alec Baldwin fatally shot the film's cinematographer as it was being made.

Lawyers representing Hannah Gutierrez Reed filed the lawsuit Wednesday in New Mexico, where the shooting occurred. 

The lawsuit claims that Seth Kenney and his company, PDQ Arm & Prop, "distributed boxes of ammunition purporting to contain dummy rounds, but which contained a mix of dummy and live ammunition to the 'Rust' production."

"Hannah and the entire Rust movie crew relied on the Defendants' misrepresentation that they provided only dummy ammunition," the suit asserts. "In so doing, Defendants created a dangerous condition on the movie set, unbeknownst to Hannah Gutierrez Reed, which caused a foreseeable risk of injury to numerous people."

On October 21, 2021, cinemtographer Halyna Hutchens was shot and killed and director Joel Souza was wounded when a gun being used by Alec Baldwin, who was co-producing and starring in the film, discharged. Baldwin has claimed he didn't pull the trigger but that the gun fired when he pulled the hammer back and released it.

YE Reporter's Notebook Prop Firearm Shooting
A musician plays a violin behind a photograph of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a vigil in her honor in Albuquerque, New Mexico on October 23, 2021. Hutchins was fatally shot two days earlier during production of the movie "Rust" in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Andres Leighton / AP

The suit alleges Kenney had worked on another film shortly before "Rust" began production, during which he and Gutierrez Reed's father, Thell Reed — himself a veteran armorer — took actors to a gun range to practice with live rounds. Kenney then took the remaining live rounds, which included "reloaded 'live' rounds" with the logo of a company called Starline Brass, from that training session back with him, according to the suit. 

"Starline Brass is a company that produces ammo brass casings, that can be made into dummy, blank or live ammunition by anyone with the knowledge and equipment to do so," the suit reads. "The company does not itself make live rounds. Anyone with access to the dummy rounds could convert them into live rounds with the proper reloading equipment."

According to Variety, in an attempt to explain how live rounds could get mixed in with dummy rounds, Kenney had previously told investigators that several years earlier, he had been given "reloaded ammunition" that had the same Starline Brass logo. 

"[Kenney] described how the company only sells components of ammunition, and not live ammunition, and therefore it had to be a reloaded round," investigators wrote in a search warrant affidavit, according to Variety.

In an interview with "Good Morning America," Kenney emphatically denied the live ammunition came from him.

In addition to accusing Kenney and PDQ Arm & Prop of supplying improperly labeled live rounds, Gutierrez Reed claims in her suit that she wasn't told Baldwin was rehearsing with the gun prior to the fatal shooting, and that the tragedy could have been avoided if she had been informed and been present for the rehearsal.

According to the suit, Gutierrez Reed wasn't present because she was also handling the job of key props assistant. The lawsuit claims that the church where the rehearsal was taking place was overcrowded, despite the set's COVID-19 protocols.

"Hannah told [assistant director Dave] Halls to let her know if Baldwin came back so that she could come back inside the Church and re-inspect the weapon and provide it to Baldwin herself as she had done every time before on set," the suit says. But, the suit contends, that didn't happen.

"Had Hannah been called back in, she would have re-inspected the weapon, and every round again, and instructed Baldwin on safe gun practice with the cross draw, as was her standard practice."

An attorney representing Gutierrez Reed has previously claimed "this was sabotage and Hannah is being framed."

The shooting is still under investigation.

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