By MORGAN LEE, Associated Press
SANTA FE, NM (AP) — A new lawsuit Wednesday charged an ammunition supplier with creating unsafe conditions on a film set where a gun owned by actor Alec Baldwin killed a cinematographer, by including live ammunition in a box that was supposed to include only dummy. Sleeves.
The lawsuit was filed in New Mexico State District Court by Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the gunsmith who oversaw firearms, ammunition and related training on the set of “Rust” along with two colleagues . Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died Oct. 21 of a gunshot wound during a “Rust” rehearsal at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe in northern New Mexico.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the cause of death, said it was too early to determine whether charges would be brought. Investigators described “a certain complacency” in the way the weapons were handled on set.
Gutierrez Reed’s lawsuit blames ammunition supplier Seth Kenney and his company PDQ Arm & Prop for introducing live ammunition into the set where only blanks and dummies were supposed to be present.
“The introduction of live bullets onto the set, which no one anticipated, combined with the rushed and chaotic atmosphere, created a perfect storm for a security incident,” the lawsuit states.
Kenney could not be reached for comment. He previously said he was sure his company hadn’t sent any live balls to the set of “Rust.”
The lawsuit adds new details to the chain of custody of firearms and ammunition on the October 21 “Rust” set, describing the appearance of a new box of ammunition – presumed to be harmless dummy cartridges without explosives – shortly long before a gun was loaded and passed to Baldwin.
Baldwin said he was unaware the gun he was holding contained live ammunition when it exploded while pointed at Hutchins. Investigators are trying to find where the live bullet came from, searching the Albuquerque premises of PDQ Arm & Prop in December.
The new lawsuit seeks damages in a jury trial on allegations of unfair trade practices, introduction of unsafe products, false labels and misrepresentations.
It indicates that the authorities found on the set “a suspect of seven live ammunition distributed inside the ammunition box, on the ammunition cart and in the cartridge pouches”.
The lawsuit also accuses Kenney of meddling in the investigations and trying to implicate Gutierrez Reed.
Authorities recovered hundreds of cartridges from the “Rust” film set – a mix of blanks, dummy cartridges and what appeared to be real cartridges.
Authorities issued a search warrant for Baldwin’s phone, looking for text messages, pictures, videos, calls or any other information related to the film.
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