Fatal shooting during the filming of the film “Rust”: the gunsmith sentenced to 18 months in prison

The gunsmith of the western film “Rust”, produced by Alec Baldwin and on the set of which the director of photography was killed by a shot, was sentenced Monday to 18 months in prison by the American justice system.

• Read also: In prison, the gunsmith from the film “Rust” insulted the jury

• Read also: No “sincere remorse”: the gunsmith from the film “Rust” faces 18 months in prison

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed had loaded the revolver with which Alec Baldwin was rehearsing in October 2021, when filming turned tragic on a New Mexico ranch: a live bullet killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joël Souza .

His sentence corresponds to the maximum requested by the prosecution. The gunsmith expressed “neither responsibility nor remorse” during the trial, prosecutor Kari Morrissey insisted Monday.

According to the prosecution, she called the jurors “idiots” and “retarded” in her calls from prison since the verdict in March.

“The jury found that I was partly responsible for this terrible tragedy, but that does not make me a monster,” the gunsmith said in tears, expressing her compassion for the victim’s family.

Star and producer of the film, Alec Baldwin is also charged with manslaughter. He also faces 18 months in prison, but is due to be tried separately in July.

During Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s trial, the prosecution criticized the gunsmith’s amateurism and inexperience. His extreme negligence led to “constant and endless security failures” on set, according to the prosecution.

She “left weapons unattended all the time,” and did not check that ammunition was safe, in defiance of film industry safety regulations.

Blank bullets used on target produce a clicking sound easily identifiable by a professional when shaking the weapon.

“If she doesn’t check for dummy ammo […] to ensure that they are indeed blank bullets […] “it’s a game of Russian roulette that begins every time an actor carries a weapon,” the accusation summarized.

Ms. Gutierrez-Reed’s defense presented her as a “scapegoat” for a production that neglected security for financial reasons.

The young woman had no way of knowing that live ammunition had infiltrated the set and believed that production had only obtained blank bullets, according to her lawyer Jason Bowles.

She was also tasked with the role of prop assistant, which prevented her from fully concentrating on her role as an armorer.

By hiring an inexperienced young woman to wear this double hat, “the producers […] made the crucial decision to relegate the safety of the film crew to second priority,” criticized Halyna Hutchins’ former agent, Craig Mizrahi, on Monday.

This rare news item shocked Hollywood and provoked calls to ban firearms on sets.

But “if Gutierrez-Reed and the producers of Rust had simply followed guidelines written for decades for the film industry, particularly regarding the use of firearms and ammunition, this tragedy would never have happened “, recalled Mr. Mizrahi.

Interrupted by the drama, filming of “Rust” was finally completed in Montana (northwest), with Halyna Hutchins’ widower, Matthew, as executive producer. He dropped civil charges against Alec Baldwin in an undisclosed settlement.

The actor’s lawyers are currently trying to have his criminal trial overturned, by raising nullities.

Last week, the prosecution called for its continuation, in a detailed response which heavily burdens the 66-year-old actor.

Prosecutors criticize the attitude of the actor, who “regularly yelled” at everyone and wanted to finish the film faster.

“Mr. Baldwin’s pressure on the crew on set regularly compromised security,” the prosecution said.

The actor, who denies having pulled the trigger, “brazenly lied about his behavior” on set, added the prosecution. In his first interrogation with the police, he did not explicitly claim that the gun went off on its own: this thesis was only developed later, during a television interview.

An FBI investigation concluded that the gun held by the actor could not have fired without pulling the trigger. It is contested by his defense.

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