Rust's 24-Year-Old Armorer Said She 'Almost Didn't Take' Previous Job: 'I Wasn't Sure If I Was Ready'
Rust's gun handler said she second-guessed her ability to take on her first job as lead armorer, a month before the movie's star Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza on set.
In September, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, appeared on the Voices of the West podcast, revealing that she had just finished serving as head armorer on her first movie The Old Way, starring Nicolas Cage.
"It was a really badass way to start off a really long and cool career, I'm hoping," Gutierrez-Reed said. "I was really nervous about it at first, and I almost didn't take the job because I wasn't sure if I was ready, but doing it — it went really smoothly."
On Thursday, Baldwin fired a prop gun at the Bonanza Creek Ranch set in New Mexico, accidentally killing Hutchins, 42, and injuring Souza, 48. The local prop master's union has said that the gun 63-year-old Baldwin fired contained "a live round," according to an email viewed by IndieWire, though authorities have not confirmed.
According to the AP, Santa Fe New Mexican, and The New York Times, an affidavit filed by the Santa Fe sheriff's department on Friday to obtain a search warrant for the shooting location states Gutierrez-Reed was the armorer who prepared the guns before assistant director Dave Hall took the gun from a cart and gave it Baldwin.
Gutierrez-Reed, who is the daughter of expert Hollywood armorer Thell Reed, said her dad taught her much of what she knows, but she also learned through watching him do his job (Thell has worked on films such as 3:10 to Yuma, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Django Unchained, and Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood).
"I kinda just caught on by myself … just observation, watching him do things, or just knowing how the firearms work. I think loading blanks was like the scariest thing to me because I was like, 'Oh, I don't know anything about it,'" Gutierrez-Reed said on the podcast.
The young armorer, who originally planned on a career in cameras or lighting, said as she got older, she realized she had a natural knack for guns after growing up around firearms her entire life.
"Now I've come to realize — this is a pretty sweet gig," Gutierrez-Reed added on the podcast.
After the incident, Hutchins was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she died from her injuries, according to the Santa Fe Sheriff's Department. Souza underwent treatment for his injuries at Christus St. Vincent's hospital, officials said. His reps confirmed to Deadline on Friday that he has been released from the hospital.
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Gutierrez-Reed did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
On Friday, Hutchins' husband Matthew spoke to the Daily Mail, and revealed he had been in touch with Baldwin following the accident, who he said was "supportive." Matthew and his and Halyna's 9-year-old son Andros also had breakfast with Baldwin at La Posada in New Mexico on Saturday, according to a source.
"I am not going to be able to comment about the facts or the process of what we're going through right now, but I appreciate that everyone has been very sympathetic," he continued. "I think that we will need a little bit of time before we can really encapsulate her life in a way that is easy to communicate."
"There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours," the actor began.
"I'm fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family," he added. "My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna."