‘Rust’ Trial: Ammo Dealer Named in Armorer’s ‘Sabotage’ Defense Denies Supplying Live Rounds

PDQ Arm and Prop owner Seth Kenney also says if he wanted to, he “could’ve gotten [Hannah Gutierrez-Reed] fired”

The ammunition and firearms dealer who supplied the “Rust” production team with guns and prop rounds took the stand Monday in the manslaughter trial of armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. Her defense team has insinuated that the owner of PDQ Arm and Prop may have had something to do with the live bullet that killed Halyna Hutchins.

Seth Kenney flatly denied that his company sent any live rounds whatsoever to the Santa Fe, New Mexico, movie set in 2021. He did, however, corroborate Gutierrez-Reed’s remarks to investigators that the two were openly feuding – and at one point told the jury that he “could have gotten her fired” from the low-budget Western if he had wanted to.

Gutierrez-Reed faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering, with a potential prison sentence of up to three years. The trial began last month in New Mexico before a jury that will determine whether she bears responsibility in the accidental shooting death of cinematographer Hutchins on October 21, 2021, at the hands of Alec Baldwin.

During live testimony last week, defense attorney Jason Bowles hinted during questioning of an investigator that the defense will further explore the theory – which he first floated during early TV interviews – that someone may have intentionally mixed live ammunition in with boxes of “dummy” rounds after a camera crew walked off in protest.

That same day, state prosecutors showed video of Gutierrez-Reed during an interview with detectives; at one point she suggested that someone may have placed them intentionally to “sabotage” her, and denies that she brought live rounds to the set for target practice or any other purpose. She then name-dropped Kenney, whom she would go on to sue in a 2022 civil action (the lawsuit is still pending).

On Monday, Kenney denied that he ever sent any live ammo to the “Rust” production. However, he did state that he had concerns based on what he was being told about gun-safety violations on the set, where his employee, Sarah Zachary, was working as prop master. Under cross-examination from Bowles, Kenney was asked whether he “wanted [Gutierrez-Reed] fired.”

“It’s not that I wanted her fired,” Kenney said. “She was doing a horrible job with prop [guns]. That was an issue … I had mixed feelings about it.”

Kenney said the defendant “was being an idiot” and that he was “frustrated” with her. “If I really wanted her fired, I could’ve gotten her fired,” Kenney said, naming a few contacts on set he suggested would have done so had he insisted on it – but “Zachary was willing to work with Hannah and get the movie finished.”

Kenney also answered a long litany of technical questions about “dummy” rounds, which are visual props with no gunpowder charge; “blank” rounds, which flash and pop but with no projectile; and “live” rounds, which are typically banned from sets where the former two types are being used.

At one point, Bowles asked if it would be possible to turn a dummy round into a live round. Kenney described in lengthy, technical detail how that could be done, and said special equipment would be required to do it – though no one directly suggested that this had been done.

Bowles also asked Kenney about his close and frequent contact with lead Sheriff’s investigator Alexandra Hancock, suggesting he was trying to “steer” the investigation away from himself and toward Gutierrez-Reed.

“You called Detective Hancock over 40 times?” Bowles asked.

“That sounds about right,” Kenney said.

Hancock, who testifited earlier this week that no evidence was found to connect PDQ’s ammo supply to the deadly shooting, was called back to the stand later Monday.

“Mr. Kenney is a potential suspect, no?” Bowles asked her.

“According to … who?” she said, looking puzzled.

“Was he investigated?”

Hancock reiterated that none of the ammunition at PDQ matched the live rounds found on the set of “Rust,” and that Kenney was merely being helpful.

The defense has suggested that Kenney and his associates would have had ample time to discard any such evidence, since his business wasn’t searched until several weeks after the Oct. 21, 2021, shooting.

Baldwin is expected to also stand trial later this summer on separate manslaughter charges.

Comments

One response to “‘Rust’ Trial: Ammo Dealer Named in Armorer’s ‘Sabotage’ Defense Denies Supplying Live Rounds”

  1. steve francis Avatar
    steve francis

    Dummy rounds of .45 LC are readily available. Why did Kenny travel so far to get so few? why did he have to make dummy rounds look antique? the box of ammo that was shown looked a right mess. I think he messed up.

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