Sheriff Mendoza said about 500 rounds of ammunition had been recovered from the set, including a mixture of blanks, dummy rounds and what the sheriff’s department believes to be live ammunition.
In recent days there has been increasing scrutiny of Mr. Halls and Ms. Gutierrez-Reed, since they handled the gun before it went off.
Mr. Halls, an industry veteran who has worked on films including “Fargo” and “The Matrix Reloaded,” has been the subject of various complaints over the years about safety, and was fired from the movie “Freedom’s Path” in 2019 after a gun unexpectedly discharged, causing a minor injury to a crew member. There were at least two accidental gun discharges on the set of “Rust” before the fatal shooting, according to three former members of the film’s crew. Mr. Halls didn’t respond to several attempts to reach him.
Ms. Gutierrez-Reed, who also goes by Hannah Reed and Hannah Gutierrez, said on a podcast posted last month that she had just finished filming her first movie as head armorer in another western called “The Old Way,” starring Clint Howard and Nicolas Cage, that is set for release next year. “I was really nervous about it at first, and I almost didn’t take the job because I wasn’t sure if I was ready, but doing it, it went really smoothly,” Ms. Gutierrez-Reed said of that movie in the podcast, “Voices of the West.” She is the daughter of Thell Reed, a shooting expert and a consultant to the movie industry.
Ms. Gutierrez-Reed told the detective that at the start of the lunch break, the firearms were secured inside a safe on a “prop truck.” During that time, she said that some ammunition was left on a cart, where it was “not secured,” and some was kept in the truck, according to the affidavit, which was filed in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court and was being used to ask for a search warrant for the “prop truck.”
After lunch, the film’s prop master, Sarah Zachry, took the firearms from the safe and handed them to Ms. Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer, according to Ms. Gutierrez-Reed’s account to the detective.