Hannah Reed, the 24-year-old head armorer on the Rust movie set where Alec Baldwin was involved in a deadly prop gun accident, had previously expressed doubts in her own ability to perform the job. 

In a September appearance on the “Voices of the West” podcast, Reed discussed her role on the set of The Old Way, another western starring Nic Cage in which Reed served as prop gun master. 

“It was my first time being head armorer,” she said. “You know, 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, like, it went really smoothly.” 

Hannah Reed is the daughter of Thell Reed, a well-known armorer in Hollywood circles who worked on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Django: Unchained and such legendary westerns as 3:10 to Yuma and Tombstone, according to IMDb

She told the “Voices of the West” hosts she was apprenticed by father as an armorer. 

“He took me from being completely green and taught me everything that I know so far, and by all means I’m still learning,” Reed said. “But yeah, Dad has taught me everything, but a lot of things, you know, I kind of just caught on by myself […] Just observation, watching him do things, just knowing how the firearms work.”

According to a spokesperson for Alec Baldwin, the incident on Rust that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza occured when the actor misfired a prop gun containing blank rounds — that is, rounds that have gunpowder but no bullet — during a rehearsal on set in New Mexico. 

But in an affidavit obtained by CNN, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office found that the weapon contained live rounds, despite an assistant director telling Baldwin that it did not. That report also alleges that Hannah Reed “set up” the weapon that the assistant director handed to Baldwin. 

“I think loading blanks was like, the scariest thing to me, because I was like ‘oh, I don’t know anything about it,’” Hannah Reed said on the podcast last month. “But you know, [my father] taught me that, and eventually by the time I was like, trying to figure out how to make a specific blank go when you want it to rather than it hitting the empty cylinders and everything, I figured that out on my own.” 

According to Deadline, authorities interviewed Reed as well as Baldwin after the fatal shooting. Both were released and no charges have been filed. 

Hannah Reed has not yet commented on the incident publicly. 

Hannah Reed, 24, was the armorer on the 'Rust' set where a prop gun Alec Baldwin held misfired and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Hannah Reed, 24, was the armorer on the ‘Rust’ set where a prop gun Alec Baldwin held misfired and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Police said in a affidavit the gun was loaded with live rounds instead of blanks. Photo credit: Instagram

Not the First Misfire for Hannah Reed

The deadly incident on the Rust set Thursday was not the first prop gun misfire during the film’s production. 

“A gun had two misfires in a closed cabin,” on set only days before, an unnamed source told Deadline Friday. “They just fired loud pops. A person was just holding it in their hands and it went off.”

Seven members of the film’s crew had walked off set just hours before the Thursday shooting, specifically over concerns for their safety, Deadline reported. 

“We cited everything from lack of payment for three weeks, taking our hotels away despite asking for them in our deals, lack of COVID[-19] safety, and on top of that, poor gun safety! Poor on-set safety period!” a member of the crew wrote in a post to a private Facebook page. 

“They brought in four non-union guys to replace us and tried calling the cops on us,” the crew member reportedly added. 

Rust Movie Productions, the business entity formed to produce the film, issued a statement to Deadline following the incident. 

“The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company,” they wrote. “Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down,” adding that they would continue to assist authorities investigating the deadly shooting.