There’s a new wrinkle in the Alec Baldwin movie set shooting.
While investigators have focused on novice armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, Baldwin and events on the set before the deadly accident, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday that an “armorer mentor” to Gutierrez Reed had provided weapons for the ill-fated movie “Rust.”
It cited as its source “six people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified.”
The Times identified the “armorer mentor” as 51-year-old Seth Kenney, who has a props and guns rental company in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. It said his name appeared with that title on an internal crew list it had obtained.
It’s unclear whether Kenney was ever on the movie set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Baldwin was rehearsing there Oct. 21 with a .45-caliber revolver — a weapon supplied by Kenney, according to the Times — when it discharged a live round, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.
The Kenney angle joins speculation about safety concerns before the shooting, inexperience on the part of the 24-year-old Gutierrez Reed, criminal and civil liability issues, how live ammunition was on the set and how at least one live round ended up in the prop gun held by Baldwin.
The Times said Kenney wasn’t talking about what role he might have had in “Rust,” and neither is the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department.
The report said it was unclear if Kenney had provided ammunition for the film.
The Times to date has provided the most detailed coverage of the shooting — not surprising, given the publication’s proximity to Hollywood and its Company Town section on the entertainment business.
Breaking: A second guns expert, Seth Kenney who owns an Arizona-based props rental company, was hired by 'Rust' producers to mentor armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed.
Kenney, provided the Colt .45 that Alec Baldwin fired, killing Halyna Hutchins, sources say.https://t.co/qnPCA4YPhh
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) November 9, 2021
It reported that Kenney had recommended Gutierrez Reed to be the armorer for “Rust” and that he was designated “armorer mentor” for her.
Such a position for a production is very rare, the Times said. Normal designations are “key armorer” or “weapons master” for someone in the role Kenney was reported to have, while Gutierrez Reed would be “armorer assistant.”
Kenney has been involved with movie props for 10 years, the last five as owner of his own business, PDQ Arm (sometimes called Arms) & Prop, the Times reported. The company has two firearms licenses from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and is registered to manufacture and sell weapons and to import ammunition and weapons.
Her father, veteran film armorer Thell Reed, helped her, especially in the area in which she was most nervous, loading blanks.
Just before the “Rust” shooting, a half-dozen union members quit, citing safety problems and complaining about pay and working conditions, according to the Times. A cameraman complained of gun safety violations the previous weekend.
They reportedly were replaced by non-union workers.
In addition to allegations of lax safety protocols, there reportedly were three accidental weapons discharges before the shooting that took the life of Hutchins.
Terese Magpale Davis, a crew member working in wardrobe, has pushed back against the claims of lack of safety and poor working conditions, saying on Instagram, “The story being spun of us being overworked and surrounded by unsafe, chaotic conditions is bulls***.”
In the deadly rehearsal, assistant director Dave Halls said he handed the gun to Baldwin and told the actor it was “cold,” meaning not holding live ammunition. But Halls admitted he had not thoroughly checked the gun to be sure, according to The New York Times.
It’s not known if Baldwin attempted to double-check the gun.
Despite the word of Kenney serving as the armorer mentor for “Rust,” the Times reported that several crew members said they had no recollection of his being on the set.
As part of their investigation, authorities took more than 500 rounds of ammunition from the set and were trying to determine who put a live round into the revolver held by Baldwin, according to the Times.
Few doubt there will be legal actions in relation to the shooting. The question is whether such actions will be civil or criminal, and whom they will be directed against.