The Memo: The latest from Rust: Armourer sentenced to 18 months for involuntary manslaughter

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The latest from Rust: Armourer sentenced to 18 months for involuntary manslaughter

Tyler Rigby - 22 April 2024

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the weapons specialist on the set of Joel Souza’s Rust, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter last month and has now been sentenced to 18 months in prison, the maximum punishment for this offence. In 2021, rising star cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot dead by a live round fired by actor Alec Baldwin on the set of the film. In her trial, Gutierrez-Reed was found to have failed in her duties, resulting in negligence that led to Hutchins death.

It has been more than 30 years since the last time a tragedy like this struck Hollywood. In 1993, Brandon Lee was shot by a prop gun that contained fragments of a lead bullet that took his life on the set of The Crow. In this instance, the gun was held by actor Michael Masse and the film was completed and released in Lee’s honour. (Rust, too, is set to be released, though no official date has been set). In Lee’s case, no charges were brought against any members of the cast and crew, with authorities deeming the freak accident to be just that, with no criminal intent behind the negligence that led to the star’s death.

With safety concerns already being reported from the Rust set before the incident, and calls for stricter firearm regulations and accountability of individuals and studios across the industry as a whole, it’s no wonder that things took a different turn here. However, even though Gutierrez-Reed has been sentenced, the story is not yet over, as Baldwin faces a manslaughter trial of his own beginning in July. Just like the film’s armourer, the star has also pled not guilty to his charges.