One came in a note to investigators from Thell Reed, Ms. Gutierrez-Reed’s father, a prominent Hollywood armorer who had trained her. Mr. Reed wrote them that a month or two before the “Rust” shooting, he and Mr. Kenney trained actors on a different set at a gun range with live ammunition. After the training, Mr. Reed wrote, Mr. Kenney kept the live rounds and took them back home with him — later telling Mr. Reed that he wanted to keep the rounds.
In statements and legal papers, Ms. Gutierrez-Reed has laid blame on Mr. Kenney. In a lawsuit she filed against him, lawyers for Ms. Gutierrez-Reed said the ammunition that Mr. Kenney’s company supplied contained a “mix of dummy and live ammunition,” a claim he denies. In a statement to the news media and in an interview with an investigator, Mr. Kenney has pinned blame on Ms. Gutierrez-Reed, saying that the handling of firearms and ammunition on set was her responsibility.
A detective also questioned Ms. Gutierrez-Reed about dummy rounds that she had brought from a recent film on which she was an armorer — a western called “The Old Way,” starring Nicolas Cage.
Ms. Gutierrez-Reed told investigators that at one point during her work on “Rust” she noticed a shortage of .45 Long Colt dummy rounds. After asking Mr. Kenney where she might find more, she said, he asked her to check the supply of dummy rounds from “The Old Way.” In doing so, she found a bag filled with a “bunch of loose dummies” in her car, Ms. Gutierrez-Reed said. She noted that she had checked to make sure all of those rounds were dummies before bringing them to the set of “Rust.”
The filming of “Rust,” about a grizzled outlaw trying to help his teenage grandson escape a death sentence, is scheduled to resume in January as part of a settlement reached by the producers and Matthew Hutchins, Ms. Hutchins’s husband. The production is not planning to return to New Mexico and is considering other filming locations, including California.
In the aftermath of the fatal shooting, some involved with the film publicly criticized the safety standards on set, including in lawsuits that are still pending. Ms. Gutierrez-Reed and Ms. Zachry acknowledged in interviews with investigators that there had been two accidental discharges of blanks on set before the shooting that killed Ms. Hutchins. Ms. Zachry accidentally discharged a gun while pointing it at the ground near her feet, she told a detective, and that same day, a stuntman accidentally discharged a rifle.