Home Entertainment ‘Rust’ Crew Member Gives Tearful Testimony: ‘I’m Hoping for Justice’

‘Rust’ Crew Member Gives Tearful Testimony: ‘I’m Hoping for Justice’

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SANTA FE, N.M. — A crew member on “Rust” gave jurors a tearful account Monday of the fatal shooting on set, and laid much of the blame on Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the film’s armorer.

Ross Addiego, the dolly grip, became choked up and cried at several points as he recalled the events surrounding the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

He also faulted Gutierrez Reed for leaving guns and ammunition unsecured, saying she was nothing like the “uptight,” “anal retentive” armorers he had encountered over his 30-year career.

“She wasn’t necessarily as serious or professional as I am accustomed to with the other armorers that I’m familiar with,” Addiego testified. “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an armorer pull loose ammo out of a fanny pack.”

Gutierrez Reed is on trial for involuntary manslaughter. She mistakenly loaded a live round into Alec Baldwin‘s gun, which went off during preparation for a scene at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, a Western feature filming outside Santa Fe. Baldwin is set to face a trial in July on the same charge for allegedly pulling the trigger, which he has denied.

Addiego was helping the camera operator set up the shot when the gun fired.

“A firearm went off in a small wooden church,” he testified. “The concussion, ears ringing, that moment of panic in everybody. I think the first person I made eye contact with was Halyna, who was clearly injured by whatever that gunshot was… She was starting to go flush and holding her right side.”

Addiego tended to Joel Souza, the director, who was struck in the shoulder by the bullet after it passed through Hutchins. He said he could see the bullet poking out under the skin by Souza’s shoulder blade. He took gauze from the set medic and applied pressure to the entry wound.

Paramedics worked to try to stabilize Hutchins, who was eventually flown to a trauma center in Albuquerque. Addiego said that eventually the crew was notified that she had died.

At that point in his testimony, he removed his glasses and wiped his eyes with a tissue.

Gutierrez Reed’s lawyer, Jason Bowles, noted on cross-examination that Addiego has filed a negligence lawsuit against Baldwin and the film’s producers.

Bowles asked if he was seeking money. He also asked if Addiego was hoping that his testimony would help convict Gutierrez Reed, which in turn would help his lawsuit.

“I’m hoping for justice, sir,” Addiego said. “Two people were injured on a film set. That has not only affected me — it’s affected the film industry.”

Bowles pointed out that his lawsuit places blame on the producers for cutting corners, and on other supervisors for failing to adhere to safety standards.

“In your lawsuit, it’s all about production and Mr. Baldwin, not Ms. Gutierrez Reed,” Bowles said.

Addiego said he didn’t draft the suit, and referred questions about it to his lawyer.

Addiego testified earlier that he had safety concerns before the fatal shooting. He witnessed two accidental discharges of blank rounds — something he could never recall occurring on another set. He said that he expressed frustration and anger over that to David Halls, the first assistant director.

“Mr. Halls ignored me and walked away,” Addiego said.

He said he also complained to another supervisor, and then to IATSE Local 80, the union that represents grips.

Halls has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor for negligent handling of a weapon in the case.

Bowles asked Addiego why he faulted Gutierrez Reed for the accidental discharges, when the blame should have gone to Halls.

“Ms. Gutierrez Reed loaded a firearm that killed my friend and injured a director,” Addiego said.

Addiego described the set as “rushed” and in a “state of chaos,” and said it appeared there was too little time to accomplish everything. He placed some blame on Baldwin, saying that he pushed the crew to move quickly and didn’t follow gun safety rules. He also said that everyone deferred to him.

“I don’t recall anybody standing up to Mr. Baldwin on the set of ‘Rust,’” Addiego said.

He agreed when Bowles called him the “big boss.”

On redirect, prosecutor Kari Morrissey sought to bring the focus back to the defendant, asking rhetorically if Baldwin was on trial.

“It appears he is a bit, yes,” Addiego said.

The defense team is experiencing some internal turmoil, as there appears to have been a breakdown in the relationship between Gutierrez Reed and her other lawyer, Todd Bullion. The defense made a motion to have Bullion withdraw from the case. Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer denied the motion, ordering Bullion to stay as counsel of record and to remain at the counsel table. But she also ordered him not to talk to Gutierrez Reed, “as requested by Defendant.”

A new attorney, Monnica Barreras, joined the defense team Monday, midway through the trial. Bowles, Bullion and Morrissey all declined to discuss the matter outside court. Morrissey referred questions to the defense.

“I’m not going there,” Bowles said.