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'Rust' Armorer's Lawyer Claims Disgruntled Crew Member May Have Intentionally Sabotaged Gun

'Rust' Armorer's Lawyer Claims Disgruntled Crew Member May Have Intentionally Sabotaged Gun

The case of the shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins by Alec Baldwin on the set of the film Rust took yet another turn yesterday when attorneys representing the film's armorer claimed the shooting may have resulted from sabotage by a disgruntled employee.

In an appearance on TODAY, lawyers Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence, who are representing armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, laid out details of the case that show both the gun and its ammunition were left unattended, leaving both open to tampering.

See Bowles' and Gorence's full TODAY interview below.

In the interview, Bowles explained that only so-called dummy rounds were supposed to be on the set, and that Gutierrez-Reed loaded the gun from an ammunition box labeled "dummy rounds." Hence, he and Gorence are exploring the possibility that someone deliberately added a live round to the ammunition box.

As Bowles explained to TODAY's Savannah Guthrie:

"We know there was a live round in a box of dummy rounds that shouldn't have been there."
"We have people who had left the set, who had walked out because they were disgruntled."
"We have a time frame between 11 and 1 approximately, that day, in which the firearms at times were unattended, so there was opportunity to tamper with this scene..."
"...We're assuming somebody put the live round in that box — which, if you think about that, the person who put the live round in the box of dummy rounds had to have the purpose of sabotaging the set."

Several Rust crew members have said the film set was plagued with safety violations and pay, benefit and labor disputes, culminating with several crew members quitting the film in the days before the shooting.

But Guthrie seemed dubious about Bowles' and Gorence's theories, which do not account for how live ammunition was not discovered in the final firearm safety procedures required on film sets and which were the responsibility of Gutierrez-Reed and the film's First Assistant Director Dave Halls.

On Twitter, many shared this suspicion of the attorneys' claims and accused them of attempting to scapegoat crew members advocating for a safer working environment.

As for Gutierrez-Reed, her attorneys said she "remains very emotional" in the aftermath of the killing.

Rust was only Gutierrez-Reed's second job as an armorer.

Her attorneys said she was also working a second job on the set as the film's key props assistant.