Rust armourer jailed after fatal film set shooting of cinematographer

Rust armourer jailed after fatal film set shooting of cinematographer

Armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after loading a gun for US actor Alec Baldwin, which fired and killed a cinematographer on the set of western film Rust.

Gutierrez-Reed was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter following the shooting of 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins in October 2021, at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Baldwin, the lead actor and co-producer of the film, was pointing a gun at Ms Hutchins during a rehearsal when the weapon went off, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza.

The actor pleaded not guilty after he was re-charged with involuntary manslaughter in January this year, before lawyers filed to dismiss the charge – a motion of which is yet to be decided. He is currently scheduled to face a trial in July.

A jury convicted Gutierrez-Reed in March following a two-week trial, and on Monday she was sentenced to the maximum 18 months of “incarceration at a New Mexico women’s correctional facility”.

“The word remorse, a deep regret coming from a sense of guilt for past wrongs – that is not you,” Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer said in her sentencing remarks.

“You were the armourer, the one that stood between a safe weapon and a weapon that could kill someone. You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon.

“But for you, Ms Hutchins would be alive, a husband would have his partner and a little boy would have his mother.”

Baldwin Set Shooting
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed with her attorney Jason Bowles and paralegal Carmella Sisneros prepare for a sentencing hearing in state district court in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Eddie Moore/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)

Special prosecutor Kari Morrissey told the judge that Gutierrez-Reed had not expressed any genuine remorse or taken responsibility for the “cascade of safety violations” that led to Ms Hutchins’s death, instead choosing to “place blame” – including on the paramedics who tried to save her life.

During her sentencing remarks, Judge Sommer referred to a review of almost 200 of Gutierrez-Reed’s calls while she was incarcerated waiting to be sentenced.

The calls heard Gutierrez-Reed describe the criminal proceedings as “messing up her modelling career”, while the judge said she was also “dismissive” of the fatal incident, describing a possible lengthy sentence as “ridiculous over what happened”.

The court also heard a host of emotional statements from Ms Hutchins’s friends and family, which all lamented the “completely preventable tragedy” and “systemic failure”, including from her mother Olga Solovey and father Anatolii Androsovych.

A video interview of Ms Solovey, who lives and works in Kyiv as a nurse caring for those wounded in the Ukrainian war, saw her relive the 3am call she received from Ms Hutchins’ husband Matthew, informing her of the death of her daughter.

“The day of her death ruined my entire life…every minute I wait until I’ll meet her again,” she said of Ms Hutchins, who was hoping to have her own daughter following the birth of her son Andros.

While her former Marine officer father said it was indescribable to express the “soul-crushing pain that I live through every day”, adding that the incident had caused an “abrupt decline of my health”.

Baldwin Set Shooting
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed during her two-week trial in March (Luis Sanchez Saturno/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)

Rust director Souza also appeared on a video link, telling the court: “I want the pain to go away, I want to be who I was before all this happened and above all, I want Halyna to be back home with her husband and son in the house she never got to live in.”

Gutierrez-Reed, who appeared emotional at points during the hearing, took to the stand before her sentencing asking the judge for probation saying “I beg you, please don’t give me more time”.

She said her “heart aches” for the Hutchins family, calling herself “young and naive” on the Rust set, while also chastising the media for portraying her as a “complete monster”.

Baldwin was initially charged in January 2023, but those charges were formally dismissed three months later.

Rust incident
Alec Baldwin practising drawing his revolver on the set of the Rust film (Santa Fe County Sheriff/PA)

Earlier in January 2024, special prosecutors brought the case before a grand jury in Santa Fe after receiving a new analysis of the gun, and Baldwin was re-charged.

The indictment accuses Baldwin of involuntary manslaughter through negligent use of a firearm, and an alternative charge of involuntary manslaughter “without due caution or circumspection”.

Baldwin previously said he pulled back the hammer, but not the trigger, and the gun fired.

Lawyers for Baldwin asked a judge to dismiss the charge, accusing prosecutors of “violating nearly every rule in the book” in acquiring the indictment, while prosecutors claimed the motion to dismiss was “predictable false, misleading, and histrionic misrepresentation of the facts”.

A judge is yet to give a ruling on the motion.

The filming of Rust resumed last year in Montana, under an agreement with the cinematographer’s widower Matthew Hutchins that made him an executive producer.