Rust Armorer Doubles Down on Set Sabotage Claim as Attorney Insists She Inspected Guns and Locked Them Up

"No one could have anticipated or thought that someone would introduce live rounds into this set," an attorney for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed said in a statement

Film set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch appears in Santa Fe, N.M., . A camera operator told authorities that Alec Baldwin had been careful with weapons on the set of the film "Rust" before the actor shot and killed a cinematographer with a gun he'd been told was safe to use, court records released
Photo: Jae C Hong/AP/Shutterstock

Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed is defending her work on the film after a fatal shooting occurred on set Oct. 21, insisting she does not know how a live round made its way into the prop gun Alec Baldwin used when he accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Gutierrez-Reed, 24, said through her attorney Jason Bowles in a statement shared with PEOPLE Thursday that she did not think live bullets would end up on the Rust set "in a million years," and she did not know how they got there.

"Hannah Gutierrez-Reed would like to add a few points to the continuing narrative on the tragic events surrounding the shooting on the Rust set," Bowles stated. "First, Hannah was incredibly safety conscious and took her job very seriously from the moment she started on Oct. 4."

He added, "She did firearms training for the actors as well as Mr. Baldwin, she fought for more training days and she regularly emphasized to never point a firearm at a person. Never in a million years did Hannah think that live rounds could have been in the 'dummy' Round box. Who put those in there and why is the central question."

Bowles' statement came not long after he and Gutierrez-Reed's other attorney, Robert Gorence, told the Today show they were exploring the possibility that someone may have intentionally "sabotaged" the set. The attorneys speculated that a "disgruntled" employee could have placed live bullets in a box of dummy rounds before Baldwin, 63, unintentionally shot and killed Hutchins, 42, and injured director Joel Souza with the gun handed to him by assistant director Dave Halls.

Alec Baldwin, Halyna hutchins
Alec Baldwin; Halyna Hutchins. Jesse Grant/Getty; Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

In the statement shared with PEOPLE, Bowles said Gutierrez-Reed "kept guns locked up, including throughout lunch" on the day Hutchins was shot and killed. "She instructed her department to watch the cart containing the guns when she was pulled away for her other duties or on a lunch break," Bowles added.

"Hannah did everything in her power to ensure a safe set. She inspected the rounds that she loaded into the firearms that day. She always inspected the rounds. She did again right before handing the firearm to Mr. Halls, by spinning the cylinder and showing him all of the rounds and then handing him the firearm," Bowles stated. "No one could have anticipated or thought that someone would introduce live rounds into this set."

A Rust crew member previously claimed to PEOPLE that there were "red flags" on set about safety after guns were left unattended on a prop table. A photo provided by the crew member shows guns strewn on a table during filming.

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Gutierrez-Reed previously broke her silence about the shooting on set Friday, saying in a statement via her lawyers that "untruths that have been told to the media," and that she was "devastated and completely beside herself over the events that have transpired."

Her attorneys claimed Gutierrez-Reed had "no idea where the live rounds came from" and said she was under pressure on the set from working two jobs as both armorer and props assistant.

Alec Baldwin attends the World Premiere of National Geographic Documentary Films' 'The First Wave' at Hamptons International Film Festival on October 07, 2021 in East Hampton, New York.
Alec Baldwin. Mark Sagliocco/Getty

Gutierrez-Reed told deputies that she had checked the rounds inside the firearm Baldwin used the day of the shooting to make sure the gun was loaded with "dummies," not real bullets, and that she locked up the guns in a safe on the prop truck, according to the search warrant affidavit. She also said no live ammunition was ever kept on the Rust set.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff refuted Gutierrez-Reed's claims about live bullets, telling Today Oct. 28 that the armorer's statement was "obviously" not correct after Hutchins was killed on set by a live round.

"No, obviously it isn't," Sheriff Adan Mendoza said. "That was a live round that struck and killed Ms. Hutchins so that's not an accurate statement as far as I'm concerned."

Mendoza said during an Oct. 27 press conference that investigators had discovered "500 rounds of ammunition" on the film set, which included "a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what we are suspecting are live rounds."

Filming on Rust has been halted and an investigation into the Oct. 21 incident is ongoing. No charges have been filed at this time.

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