Multiple film crew members, including Stu Brumbaugh, have come forward to allege that Rust armorer Hannah Reed had a history of mishandling firearms on film sets.
On the set of The Old Way, a Western starring Nicolas Cage, Hannah Reed had her first job as head armorer. Stu Brumbaugh was the key grip, and told CNN that he repeatedly raised concerns to the film’s assistant director that she was reckless and should be fired.
“There’s a universal way to handle weapons on set and immediately red flags went up when I worked with Hannah,” Brumbaugh said. “This is why I asked for her dismissal. This is why people get injured because of rookie mistakes.”
Stu Brumbaugh also alleged that Hannah Reed once accidentally fired a gun on the set near The Old Way star Nicolas Cage, who screamed at her for not providing him with a warning.
“She was talking to the stunt coordinator, and she just fired off a round, it sounded [like she fired] at the ground, and that’s when Nick really laid into her,” Brumbaugh claimed. “That’s when I said she needs to be let go, she’s the most inexperienced armorer I had ever worked with. I have no idea why she wasn’t let go.”
‘Make an announcement!'” Brumbaugh claimed Cage yelled at her before storming off the set. “‘You just blew my f***ing eardrums out!'”
The allegations came after Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza revealed that the gun Alec Baldwin fired on the set of Rust had a lead projectile in it. There were also “possible additional live rounds on set.” Hannah Reed has yet to comment on the shooting.
Another anonymous source told CNN that she didn’t carry firearms safely around the set and usually had pistols tucked under her armpits that were pointed back at people.
Similar complaints of firearm misconduct existed on the Rust set as well, with film workers describing a separate incident of a prop gun accidentally firing in someone’s cabin, as well as allegations that the prop guns were being used for target practice earlier that same day.
Travis Bruyer, a Montana armorer, was close to working on The Old Way before Reed was hired.
“I was contacted a week before filming started, he told us. “They were looking for someone for five weeks, however I was committed to other film projects.”
“I did ask if I could provide anything,” Bruyer recalled. “Blank firing guns with closed barrels and blank firing ammo, and if I could come on part-time during heavy days. But the producer passed.”
“A few days later I heard they hired an armorer,” he said. “There were some issues on that set when she failed to clear a gun for an 11 year old,” Bruyer said, talking about Reed.
He offered his firearms, which he believed were safer than many available. But, according to Bruyer, Reed simply “thanked me for reaching out.”
“She said she was all set and that she would call me if anything came up,” Bruyer added.
Speaking on a September episode of the Voices of the West podcast, 24-year-old armorer Hannah Reed discussed her time on The Old Way, the last known comment of hers prior to the Rust shooting.
“I think the best part about my job is just showing people who are normally kind of freaked out by guns how safe they can be and how they’re not really problematic unless put in the wrong hands,” she said.
The daughter of a well-known Hollywood armorer, she said that she was self-taught and figured out how to do the job on her own.
She described “loading blanks” and something that was still “the scariest thing to me,” and that she was “really nervous” before taking the job to be head armorer on The Old Way.
“I almost didn’t take the job because I wasn’t sure if I was ready,” Hannah Reed told Voices of the West. She described everything as “very quick” and said that she was “still learning new things.”
The investigation into what happened on the set of Rust is ongoing.