Rust Armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, Found Guilty in Death of Halyna Hutchins

A verdict of involuntary manslaughter has been reached for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the weapons handler on a movie set where actor Alec Baldwin unintentionally discharged a firearm, resulting in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in 2021. Gutierrez-Reed was acquitted of a second charge related to tampering with evidence. The 26-year-old could be sentenced to a maximum of 18 months in prison, with the sentencing scheduled for a later date. Alec Baldwin, aged 65, is set to face a manslaughter trial in July.

Halyna Hutchins, aged 42, tragically lost her life when a firearm used by Mr. Baldwin discharged a live round during a rehearsal on the set of a Western film in New Mexico. A lawyer representing Mr. Baldwin expressed positivity regarding Gutierrez-Reed’s sentencing, noting that it could have implications for his client’s forthcoming trial. The lawyer emphasized that Mr. Baldwin couldn’t have anticipated the presence of a live round on set, as the proper handling and maintenance of the firearm and ammunition fell under the responsibility of the armorer.

After three hours of deliberation, jurors delivered the verdict on Wednesday in the case of Gutierrez-Reed. Upon learning her fate, Gutierrez-Reed maintained a stoic expression. As she was escorted away by two officers, she offered reassurance to her weeping mother, saying, “It’ll be OK,” as reported by Reuters. The family of Halyna Hutchins, including her parents and sister, expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the trial.

Getty Images Halyna Hutchins in 2019
Halyna Hutchins was killed while on set in 2021


Their statement emphasized the expectation for the justice system to ensure accountability for all individuals responsible for Halyna Hutchins’ death. Acknowledging the legal culpability of someone for the tragedy, they expressed anticipation for legal consequences for others involved.

In the upcoming trial, Mr. Baldwin is expected to argue that the presence of a live bullet in the gun was not foreseeable. Prosecutors contended that Gutierrez-Reed neglected her duty to ensure the weapon only contained dummy rounds, leading to the unintentional firing that claimed Halyna Hutchins’ life.

During the closing arguments on Wednesday, prosecutor Kari T Morrissey characterized the case as a narrative of persistent safety failures, resulting in a tragic loss. Morrissey asserted that Gutierrez-Reed’s negligence, carelessness, and thoughtlessness led to the fatal mixture of live bullets with dummy rounds on the film set.

One of those bullets found in the firearm used by Mr. Baldwin was traced back to Gutierrez-Reed, as stated by prosecutors. They presented evidence indicating that Gutierrez-Reed transported a box of live bullets from her California residence to the New Mexico film set, and these live rounds gradually spread across the set over a 12-day period.

Prosecutor Ms. Morrissey suggested that the armourer likely did not intend to introduce live rounds to the set, framing Ms. Hutchins’ death as a tragic outcome of negligence. Morrissey further commented that Gutierrez-Reed appeared to be more concerned about her professional reputation than the well-being of the victims in the aftermath of the shooting.

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