“Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed said the Santa Fe Sheriff’s indifference to DNA testing the live rounds found on set “raises a serious problem” in a statement released Thursday.
“The primary question in this case from the beginning has been where did the live rounds that ended upon the Rust set come from?” Gutierrez-Reed said in a statement released through her attorney and emailed to TheWrap. “As can be seen from the attached emails, the Sheriff’s office made a conscious decision not to pursue this question at all by refusing to ask the FBI to test any of the rounds for fingerprints or DNA.”
Given that the investigation knows “for certain” there were live rounds on set, Gutierrez-Reed called out the Sheriff’s indifference to testing, saying, “It is inconceivable that the Sheriff would not seek answers to this fundamental question and it raises a serious problem with the entire investigation.”
Alongside her statement, Gutierrez-Reed attached an email chain dated Thursday appearing to be between Albuquerque attorney Jason Bowles, who represents Gutierrez-Reed, and Alexandria J. Hancock from the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office, who discussed the matter of asking the FBI to DNA test the live rounds.
Neither the Gutierrez-Reed statement nor the emails reflected whether her attorney intended to request for the live rounds to be tested for DNA if Gutierrez-Reed were charged and the case was taken to trial.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to the TheWrap’s request for comment.
“Do you know why the fbi didn’t do any dna testing on the rounds?” Bowles wrote to Hancock in an email provided to TheWrap by Bowles, dated Thursday, Aug. 18 at 8:32 a.m.
Shortly after, at 9:21 a.m., Hancock responded: “We discussed as a team what would make most sense for the investigation. Given the fact the items were from movie sets, which had been handled over and over and over.”
After Bowles disagreed with Hancock and noted that DNA might still be possible to obtained from the rounds, Hancock replied by saying, “Thank you for your input, however we are done with testing at this time. We already know Hannah loaded the weapon that was used during the incident, that was her statement. We also know everything in question was handled by multiple people after the incident.”
Bowles urged the Sheriff’s office to reconsider in the final email in the chain, noting “This will be a very significant issue at trial, if we get there.”
The statement comes a week after Santa Fe County authorities announced that the FBI has completed its forensics analysis of the bullet inside the gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on Oct. 21, 2021, on the set of the Alec Baldwin movie.
While Baldwin was holding the gun that discharged, Gutierrez-Reed’s role in the fatal shooting has been investigated as well. In March, the armorer pushed back against Baldwin’s claims in legal filings that she told him to cock the gun, saying that he acted “against all rules and common sense.”
“We have long sought this answer and will not give up in pursuing the truth to find it,” Gutierrez-Reed concluded.