alec baldwin rust

Baldwin is seen in costume, covered with fake blood, in an image posted to Instagram
Alec Baldwin was told never to point his gun at anyone, regardless of whether it was loaded or not, according to a lawyer for the 24-year-old armorer on the set of his film Rust.

Baldwin, 63, shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on set in New Mexico on October 21.

He was handed a gun by the first assistant director, Dave Halls, who told him it was a 'cold' gun - not loaded with live ammunition.

The guns were the responsibility of Hannah Gutierrez Reed, in only her second job as armorer.

Yet on Thursday, a lawyer for Gutierrez Reed - whose father, Thell Reed, is a veteran armorer - insisted that she had taken her role extremely seriously and had briefed all the actors, including Baldwin, that they should never point even unloaded guns at people.

'Hannah was incredibly safety conscious and took her job very seriously from the moment she started on October 4,' Jason Bowles, one of her attorneys, said in a statement shared with Fox News on Thursday.

'She did firearms training for the actors as well as Mr. Baldwin, she fought for more training days and she regularly emphasized to never point a firearm at a person.'

On Wednesday, Bowles, appearing on Good Morning America to defend his client, floated the wild theory that someone 'intended to sabotage' the production by sneaking live rounds into the package of ammunition.

'Never in a million years did Hannah think that live rounds could have been in the "dummy" round box,' he later said Thursday.

'Who put those in there and why is the central question.'

No charges have been filed in the shooting, and investigators in New Mexico are continuing to piece together events.

Gutierrez Reed, in her affidavit, told the Santa Fe Sheriff's Office that the gun had been locked in a safe during a lunch break prior to the fatal shooting.

Yet Robert Gorence, another attorney for Gutierrez Reed, told The New York Times that she loaded the guns with dummy rounds for an afternoon filming session, placed socks over them to prevent passersby from picking them up, and went off to lunch.

'Was there a duty to safeguard them 24/7?' Gorence said.

'The answer is no, because there were no live rounds.'

Both Gorence and Bowles - a former federal prosecutor based in Albuquerque - have said that the focus on Gutierrez Reed is unfair.

On Wednesday, Bowles repeatedly claimed that the set had been deliberately sabotaged, speculating that it was connected to a walk-out by union members the day before the shooting amid anger over working conditions, including a long commute from the set to the hotel.

'We know the live rounds shouldn't have been in that box, but they were,' Bowles told GMA.

'So there can be very, very few explanations for why live rounds end up in a box of dummy prop ammunition on a movie set.

'And one of them is that somebody wants that to go into a firearm and then wants there to be an incident on the set. There's no other reason to mix a live round with the dummies. There's just none.'

He continued pressing the argument later Wednesday on NBC's Today.

Savannah Guthrie, host of Today, questioned why anyone would 'have the motive and opportunity' to plant live rounds on set, risking the lives of their colleagues.

Bowles replied: 'I believe that somebody who would do that would want to prove a point, want to say that they're disgruntled.

'And we know that people had already walked off the set the day before.

'And the reason they were unhappy is they're working 12- to 14-hour days. They were not given hotel rooms in and around the area. So they had to drive back and forth an hour to Albuquerque, and they're unhappy.'

When Guthrie asked Bowles whether he was accusing the crew who quit, he said: 'You can't rule anybody out at this point.

'We know there was a live round in a box of dummy rounds that shouldn't have been there.

'We have people who had left the set who had walked out because they were disgruntled.

'We have a timeframe between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., approximately, that day in which the firearms, at times, were unattended. So there was opportunity to tamper with the scene. And yes, we're looking at that possibility.'

Bowles on Thursday also emphasized that Gutierrez Reed spun the cylinder in the gun to show Halls that there was no live ammunition in there.

'She inspected the rounds that she loaded into the firearms that day,' Bowles said.

'She always inspected the rounds. She did again right before handing the firearm to Mr. Halls, by spinning the cylinder and showing him all of the rounds and then handing him the firearm.'

Halls has admitted in an affidavit that he did not check every bullet in the chamber.

Matthew Hutchins, the husband of the 42-year-old cinematographer and father of their nine-year-old son, has hired a Los Angeles-based law firm in connection with the shooting.

Brian Panish of personal injury firm Panish Shea Boyle Ravipudi, who earlier this year helped secure a $2.2 billion settlement for victims of Southern California wildfires and mudslides, will be the lead attorney, said Hutchins spokeswoman Amanda Duckworth.

Panish has also represented the mother and children of pop singer Michael Jackson in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Legal experts have said the Hutchins family could file civil lawsuits seeking financial damages for negligence.

Hutchins has been photographed embracing and talking with Baldwin in the days following the shooting.

A corporate associate at U.S. law firm Latham & Watkins, he is the latest to hire legal counsel in the wake of the shooting that also injured director Joel Souza.

Last week, Baldwin and other Rust producers hired law firm Jenner & Block to investigate the shooting.

Baldwin, who was also a producer on the film, has said he is heartbroken and is cooperating with authorities.