Attorneys for the Rust armorer appeared on TV on Wednesday, and one of them suggested that the tragic shooting on set last week was an act of intentional sabotage, not a mistake. Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence both represent armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed in the investigation of the shooting, and they appeared side by side on The Today Show. Bowles said that someone must have put live rounds of ammunition into the box of dummy rounds on purpose.
"How did a live round get on set, and who put that live round on the set?" Bowles wondered. "There was a box of dummy rounds labeled 'dummy.' We don't know whether the live round came from that box. We're assuming somebody put the live round in that box." Gutierrez-Reed was responsible for safely handling the gun that actor Alec Baldwin fired on Thursday, Oct. 21, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. Bowles did not provide any evidence to support his sabotage theory — only a speculative motive.
The person who put the live round in the box of dummy rounds had to have the purpose of sabotaging the set. -Jason Bowles, attorney for Hannah Gutierrez Reed— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 3, 2021
Is that your theory of the case? -@SavannahGuthrie
We don’t have a theory yet. -Bowles pic.twitter.com/BpaQmFsqup
Bowles pointed out that members of the film crew had walked off the set the day before the shooting in protest of unsafe working conditions, including gun safety measures and an over-taxing schedule. Another report by PEOPLE said that there was no union prop master working on Rust at the time of the accident, and gaffer Serge Svetnoy wrote a scathing Facebook post where he implied that Guttierez-Reed was not "a professional," and that the producers had hired her to save money in spite of her inexperience.
With those labor concerns in mind, Bowles suggested that someone might "want to sabotage the set, want to prove a point, want to say they're disgruntled, they're unhappy." Again, there was no real evidence given to support these theories. Some crew members have already publicly denounced this narrative, saying that reports of safety concerns have been exaggerated. In an Instagram post on Tuesday, Baldwin seemed to side with those who believe the set was safe.
Still, multiple sources have now attested to the safety concerns on set according to a report by NBC News, including some anonymous sources. The outlet also obtained the resignation letter of A-camera first assistant Lane Luper, who quit working on Rust the day before the shooting. Her letter said: "So far there have been 2 accidental weapons discharges and 1 accidental SFX explosives that have gone off around the crew between takes... To be clear there are NO safety meetings these days."
The investigation into the shooting and the situation on the set of Rust is ongoing. So far, no charges have been filed against anyone, including Gutierrez-Reed.