“Rust” armorer publicly blamed for handing Alec Baldwin the loaded gun that was used to kill crew member

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was named on Friday as the person who loaded Baldwin’s vintage Colt pistol which was being used in a gunfight scene set in a church at the Bonanza Ranch in Santa Fe, NM (Twitter)


Amy Kaufman

Los Angeles Times

The chief electrician on the set of “Rust” is publicly blaming the film’s armorer and producers for the “negligence” that led to cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’ death.

On Sunday, Serge Svetnoy — who was the gaffer on the New Mexico western — posted a long message on his Facebook page detailing Thursday’s fatal shooting. In the post, Svetnoy said he was “standing shoulder-to-shoulder” with Hutchins when she was struck by a projectile accidentally fired from a prop gun used by Alec Baldwin.

“I was holding her in my arms while she was dying,” the gaffer wrote. “Her blood was on my hands.”

Svetnoy has not responded to numerous inquiries from The Times since Friday. But in his post, he noted that he had worked with Hutchins on “almost all of her films,” including the Joe Manganiello action film “Archenemy” and the recently completed horror thriller “The Mad Hatter.” “Sometimes we’ve shared food and water,” Svetnoy said of the director of photography. “We’ve been burning under the sun, freezing in the snow or on the shoots. We took care of each other.”

Though he did not name 24-year-old “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed by name, Svetnoy made it clear that he felt she held much of the responsibility for his friend’s death.

“I’m sure that we had the professionals in every department, but one — the department that was responsible for the weapons,” Svetnoy said. “There is no way a twenty-four-year-old woman can be a professional with armory; there is no way that her more-or-less the same-aged friend from school, neighborhood, Instagram, or God knows where else, can be a professional in this field.”

“Rust” was just the second feature film Gutierrez had worked on as lead armorer, meaning she was in charge of overseeing gun safety and usage on set. She prepared the three prop guns used by Baldwin in a church shootout scene, according to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office search warrant affidavit obtained by the Associated Press. One of those weapons was handed to Baldwin by assistant director Dave Halls, the affidavit said.

Cast members and staffers Alec Baldwin, Halyna Hutchins and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed (Circled left to right) on the set of Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Instagram/Halyna Hutchins)

In his public message, Svetnoy said that “the negligence from the person who was supposed to check the weapon on the site did not do this; the person who had to announce that the loaded gun was on the site did not do this; the person who should have checked this weapon before bringing it to the set did not do it.”

The gaffer used his post to call upon producers to avoid cutting corners to maintain a low budget.

“To save a dime sometimes, you hire people who are not fully qualified for the complicated and dangerous job, and you risk the lives of the other people who are close and your lives as well,” Svetnoy said. “I understand that you always fight for the budget, but you cannot allow this to happen. … It is true that the professionals can cost a little more and sometimes can be a little bit more demanding, but it is worth it. No saved penny is worth the LIFE of the person!”

He concluded: “And finally, dear Producers, please remember that it’s not you who are giving the opportunities to the people you hire make their money; it’s the people you hire who help You make Your money. Remember this!”

Svetnoy’s full Facebook post follows below:

My vision of the RUST tragedy

I have received hundreds of calls, text messages, letters with words of support and condolences since the day of the tragedy with Halyna Hutchins, and I’m very grateful to everyone. Yes, I knew Halyna, not for a year. I worked with Her on almost all of her films. Sometimes we’ve shared food and water. We’ve been burning under the sun, freezing in the snow on the shoots. We took care of each other. Yes, I can say with 100% confidence she was my friend.

WAS!!!

I also received many calls from different mass media sources from multiple countries asking to tell what happened; also from numerous institutes and universities for the students to know what needs the most attention.

Yes, I was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Halyna during this fatal shot that took her life and injured the director Joel Souza. I was holding her in my arms while she was dying. Her blood was on my hands.

I want to tell my opinion on why this has happened. I think I have the right to do it.

It’s the fault of negligence and unprofessionalism.

The negligence from the person who was supposed to check the weapon on the site did not do this; the person who had to announce that the loaded gun was on the site did not do this;

the person who should have checked this weapon before bringing it to the set did not do it.

And the DEATH OF THE HUMAN IS THE RESULT!

I’m sure that we had the professionals in every department, but one – the department that was responsible for the weapons. There is no way a twenty-four-year-old woman can be a professional with armory; there is no way that her more-or-less the same-aged friend from school, neighborhood, Instagram, or God knows where else, can be a professional in this field.

Professionals are the people who have spent years on sets, people who know this job from A to Z; These are the people who have the safety on set at the level of reflexes; they do not need to be told to put the sandbag on a tripod, fix the ladder on the stage, or fence off the explosion site. They have it in their blood.

I’m calling out to the Producers!

We have a fascinating and amazing job, but it’s also dangerous. We film in the mountains, in the open water, underwater. We have explosions, shooting guns, car crashes, electricity after all, and much more.

To save a dime sometimes, you hire people who are not fully qualified for the complicated and dangerous job, and you risk the lives of the other people who are close and your lives as well.

I understand that you always fight for the budget, but you cannot allow this to happen. There should always be at least one professional in each department who knows the job. It is an absolute must to avoid such a tragedy, like the tragedy with Halyna.

I do not wish anyone to go through what I went through, what her husband @Matt Hutchins and her son Andros went through, and the actor Alec Baldwin, who has been handed a gun on set. He has to live with the thought that he took the life of the human because of unprofessional people.

Dear Producers, by hiring professionals, you are buying peace of mind for yourself and the people around you. It is true that the professionals can cost a little more and sometimes can be a little bit more demanding, but it is worth it. No saved penny is worth the LIFE of the person!

And finally, dear Producers, please remember that it’s not you who are giving the opportunities to the people you hire make their money; it’s the people you hire who help You make Your money. Remember this!

I also want to thank the camera operator @Ried Russell, who was with us and helped save Halyna. Thank you to the set medic @Cherlyn Schaefer who did everything she could to save Halyna’s life.

We all loved Halyna.

May God Bless her soul.

Rest in Peace.

And God protect Us All.

____

©2021 Los Angeles Times. Visit latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.