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Rust shooting: Premises in New Mexico searched after new leads found in film death investigation

The fatally shooting on the set of Baldwin's film took place earlier this year
The fatally shooting on the set of Baldwin's film took place earlier this year   -   Copyright  Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
By Tim Gallagher  with AP

Investigators are searching premises in New Mexico for information relating to a fatal shooting that took place on the set of Alec Baldwin’s film “Rust” earlier this year.

Authorities have searched the premises of an Albuquerque-based firearms and ammunition supplier, on a hunt for the possible sources of live ammunition involved in the killing of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

The search took place after a provider of firearms and ammunition to the ill fated movie production for "Rust" told investigators that he "may know" where live rounds came from, describing ammunition he received from a friend in the past that had been "reloaded" by assembly from parts.

Seth Kenney and his business PDQ Arm & Prop provided movie-prop ammunition and weapons to the "Rust" production. Kenney told detectives "a couple years back, he received 'reloaded ammunition' from a friend," and that the ammunition stood out in his memory because of a star-shaped company logo. It has been said these comments are now leading the investigation into Hutchins’ death.

500 rounds of ammunition were found on the movie set, located on the outskirts of Santa Fe, some of which were live rounds. Industry experts have said live rounds should never be on set.

Investigators have described some complacency on weapons handling on the set of "Rust".

What happened on the set of Rust?

In October this year actor Alec Baldwin fired a revolver during a "Rust" rehearsal which killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. The same shot injured director Joel Souza, leaving a projectile lodged in the shoulder.

Baldwin was told the revolver was "cold" and had no live rounds, investigators say.

Jae C. Hong/AP
The shooting on the set of "Rust" has caused a media stormJae C. Hong/AP

The incident has been plagued by rumours of union disputes, recriminations from key players, and lately lawsuits as Baldwin and others are set to be sued by a traumatised crew member.

The movie’s on-set armourer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was initially implicated, has previously claimed she is the victim of a set up.

The search-warrant affidavit used in the police proceedings in Albuquerque did reveal new details on the handling of the gun that led to the death of Hutchins.

Investigators say that Gutierrez Reed loaded the gun with five dummy rounds but struggled to add a sixth round before a lunch break, when the revolver was locked in a truck. The final round was added after lunch when the gun was cleaned.

Gutierrez Reed "stated the guns were checked on set, however she 'didn't really check it too much' (the firearm), due to it being locked up at lunch," according to the new affidavit.

Movie consultant Thell Reed - Gutierrez Reed's father — told investigators he supplied Kenney with a can of live ammunition, during a firing-range training session for film actors. Reed said Kenney took a can of that ammunition back to New Mexico.

After the shooting, the prop master on the set shook a box of dummy rounds on the set for their characteristic rattle and said they did not rattle, possibly indicating live rounds.