ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As the armorer from the “Rust” movie set faces criminal charges for a deadly shooting, the man the production originally wanted to hire has spoken. Scott Rasmussen has been working in the film industry since the 1980s.
For the last decade, he’s worked mostly as a prop master and armorer, and often with big names. “John Travolta, Eric Roberts…Sam Elliot,” Rasmussen listed as he showed pictures on a fridge in his workshop. Alec Baldwin was almost added to that list.
“They decided to save a few pennies here and there and we, unfortunately, had a bad accident happen,” said Rasmussen. He said he was offered the jobs of both prop master and armorer for the movie “Rust,” but quickly had concerns regarding the project.
“I felt comfortable with doing it until I read the script and it was a lot of guns everywhere throughout the show,” he said. “So, I felt it would be safer for me just to be the armorer on the show.” He said the production team was ok with that.
“She said ok, great. We’ll get back to you Monday about that position,” said Rasmussen, “and they never got back to me.” It’s now known they ended up hiring then-24-year-old Hannah Gutierrez-Reed for the position. “I wholeheartedly believe they saw that I had the experience so they probably assumed that I’d be wanting an arm and a leg and so, they go with somebody that they got for a relatively cheap price,” said Rasmussen.
10 days before the fatal on-set shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, Rasmussen said he was asked to come back. “And I said, well, I already took another show, why are you asking me now? And he said because we’re dissatisfied with the person that we hired, that she was not following safety guidelines,” said Rasmussen.
People on set have described an unsafe workplace with accidental misfires before the fatal shooting. There’s also a new lawsuit from three crew members alleging safety concerns were ignored. Then came October 21, 2021, when police say Alec Baldwin fired a gun on set killing Hutchins and injuring Director Joel Souza.
“I was mad. I was really mad because they had the opportunity to hire me and they didn’t,” said Rasmussen. It’s unclear exactly how a live round got into the gun used in the scene rehearsal. Rasmussen showed a pile of live and dummy rounds, which looked very much alike. But, he said a quick listening test is all it takes to know which is the dummy.
“A live cartridge, shake that near your ear…you hear nothing,” Rasmussen said as he demonstrated. “A dummy cartridge has the rattle. We have a little BB in there so it has the rattle. So, it’s very easy to discern between a live cartridge and a dummy cartridge.”
He said everyone in the area should verify the round and only the armorer and actor should touch the gun. He also made videos in which he says show a trigger has to be pulled for the gun to fire. This information comes after Baldwin claimed he never pulled the trigger.
Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed are each facing an involuntary manslaughter charge. They are scheduled to be back in court on Thursday, Mar. 9.