Authorities get search warrant on suspected supplier of ‘Rust’ ammo
By Julia Jones and David Shortell, CNN
Investigators in New Mexico were authorized by a state judge Tuesday to search an Albuquerque prop store where some of the rounds used on the set of the film “Rust” prior to the fatal shooting in October are believed to have been supplied.
In the search warrant, which was provided to CNN by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed said in an interview with law enforcement that she or prop master Sarah Zachry had picked up ammunition for the movie from a man named Seth Kenney at PDQ Arm and Prop.
Authorities outlined two possible ways live ammunition could have ended up in the supply on set and in the gun discharged by actor Alec Baldwin that resulted in the shooting death of director of photography Halyna Hutchins.
Thell Reed, Gutierrez Reed’s father and an industry veteran, told detectives in an interview earlier this month that he had given Kenney an “ammo can” with live rounds for training on a different movie this year — and that the can was still believed to be in Kenney’s possession, according to an affidavit released Tuesday.
Reed explained he never got the remainder of the bullets back after that earlier production ended.
“After several attempts to get it back from Seth, Seth advised Thell to ‘write it off.’ Thell stated this ammunition may match the ammunition found on the set of Rust,” the warrant reads.
Kenney also told authorities about a different way live ammunition may have been mixed in with the supply, according to the affidavit.
In an interview a few days after the October shooting, Kenney told a detective that he generally uses a manufacturer called Starline Brass for ammunition. Two days later, though, Kenney called the detective back to say that he had received “reloaded ammunition” from a friend two years earlier that “stuck out to him.” The round, which Kenney suspected was live, was in a cartridge with a logo of Starline Brass, a company he said only sells components of ammunition, and not live ammunition.
In her own interview with law enforcement last month, Zachry said there were additional sources of ammunition for the film, including some Gutierrez Reed brought from a previous production, and extra rounds from someone who went by “Billy Ray.”
CNN has reached out to Kenney for comment.
In a statement, Jason Bowles, the lawyer for Gutierrez Reed, called the warrant “a huge step forward today to unearth the full truth of who put the live rounds on the ‘Rust’ set.”
“We trust that the FBI will now compare and analyze the ‘live rounds’ seized from the set to evidence seized in the search warrant to conclusively determine where the live rounds came from,” the statement said.
A series of incident reports released by the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday also contained previously unknown details about the initial police response to the “Rust” movie set shooting and the interviews authorities conducted in its immediate aftermath.
According to narratives written by the responding officers included in the newly released reports, authorities interviewed 12 people who were inside the church at the time of the shooting.
Director Joel Souza, who was injured in the incident, gave a statement to a member of the sheriff’s office as he sat on a bed in a hospital trauma room with a “half inch hole” in his shoulder before he was “administered any medications prior to doctors taking the projectile out.”
“Joel explained he remembered a movie worker or armorer handling guns prior to [beginning] to film the gun fight scene. Joel explained he thought he heard someone say the gun was ‘cold’ which meant unloaded but was not sure,” the report states. “Joel went on to say he remembered hearing a loud bang which didn’t sound like a blank round. Joel stated he fell backwards, looked forward and saw one of the other member (sic) of the production crew bleeding.”
Gutierrez Reed was described as “very emotional” and “more agitated” in the aftermath of the shooting and was found by an investigator walking with a gun in her hand, according to the report.
“I located Hanna (sic) walking back to the structure with a handgun in her left hand with the muzzle pointing down. I observed Hanna (sic) to be emotional and at this time, I took custody of the handgun,” the report said. “Hanna (sic) was very emotional and getting more agitated because of the incident. I advised Hanna (sic) she was not under arrest several times and put her in the rear of my unit with the passenger side rear door open but the vehicle locked. I had medical personal (sic) check on [Hannah].”
The report states that Baldwin approached an officer who was putting up crime scene tape and asked to talk to him.
While securing the perimeter of the church with crime scene tape, “I was approached by a male that told me he had to talk to me, I told the male that I would be with him shortly after I conducted my duties. The male told me that he had to talk to me, because he was the one that fired the firearm. I looked at the male and recognized him to be well known actor Alec Baldwin. I told him to wait by a prop truck and that a deputy would speak to him.”
Baldwin recently sat down for his first on-camera interview about the incident.
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CNN’s Andy Rose and Alexandra Meeks contributed to this report.