'Rust' armorer sloppy, unprofessional: prosecutor

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STORY: “Sloppy” and “unprofessional”: That’s how a New Mexico prosecutor described the work of Hannah Gutierrez, the chief weapons expert on the set of “Rust”, whose cinematographer was fatally shot in 2021 after a live round was brought onto the film set and ended up in a gun held by actor Alec Baldwin.

Gutierrez’s involuntary manslaughter trial began with opening statements on Thursday.

The 27-year-old listened as prosecutor Jason Lewis made his case that she was responsible:

“The evidence you are going to hear throughout this trial is that the defendant was unprofessional and that she failed to do the essential safety functions of her job, and that these failures resulted in live ammunition being spread throughout this entire set.”

The cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, was fatally shot after Alec Baldwin was rehearsing with a reproduction Colt .45 revolver that Gutierrez loaded with a live round.

Baldwin, who was one of the producers on the film has denied responsibility and said weapons safety was not his job.

Gutierrez has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charge.

She also faces charges of evidence tampering for allegedly giving a bag of cocaine to a crew member after the shooting to prevent police from finding it.

Each felony charge carries up to 18 months prison time.

Guterriez’s lawyer Jason Bowles said his client was “scapegoated” and actor Alec Baldwin broke basic gun safety rules.

“She had insufficient time to do her armorer duties because she was also forced to do props. And management made a number of mistakes and did not create the proper atmosphere. 'Rust' production and the state want to scapegoat her.”

Bowles went on to allege props supplier Seth Kenney and props master Sarah Zachary of disposing evidence by throwing away rounds after the shooting.

Neither Kenney or Zachary have been charged. Both are listed as potential witnesses in the trial.

The "Rust" shooting was the first fatal on-set shooting since 1993 when Brandon Lee, son of late martial artist Bruce Lee, was shot by his colleague while filming a movie.