Luper cited "lax COVID policies, the housing situation... and specifically gun safety, a lack of rehearsals, a lack of preparing the crew for what we were doing that day," as reasons for his resignation, stating, "I only personally remember two safety meetings that involved the entire crew."
Producers of the film disputed Luper's claims to ABC News, calling them "patently false," and noting that "he had absolutely nothing to do with, or knowledge of, safety protocols" on the set.
Baldwin likewise disputed Luper's characterization of the set, sharing screenshots of a post by Terese Magpale Davis, who was working in the costume department on the set of the Western.
"I'm so sick of this narrative," Davis wrote in part. "I worked on this movie. The story being spun of us being overworked and surrounded by unsafe, chaotic conditions is bulls**t."
Luper disagreed, telling GMA that he has "a pretty unique perspective" when it comes to safety on set.
"It's important that I be a part of safety as the head of the camera department, for protecting the camera, protecting the camera operators, knowing what the shot is," Luper said. "It's very important that I play a role in safety. I actually had to take classes in Los Angeles in order to get my union card."
As for what led to the incident, Luper said that it wasn't just one person, but rather "a perfect storm" of circumstances.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza previously told the media that David Halls, the film's assistant director, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film's armorer, and Baldwin were the three people who handled the weapon on set, noting that they have all "been cooperative in the investigation and have provided statements." Both Halls and Gutierrez-Reed have released statements through their attorneys.
Mendoza also said that it was "too early" to talk about possible charges being filed. "The investigation will continue and if the Sheriff's Office determines during our investigation that a crime has occurred and probable cause exists, an arrest or arrests will be made and charges will be filed," he said.
"I think with Rust it was a perfect storm of the armorer, the assistant director, the culture that was on set, the rushing. It was everything. It wasn't just one individual," Luper said. "Everything had to fall into place perfectly for this one in a trillion thing to happen. It's a very rare thing to happen."
"In the film industry, we have these things called safety bulletins that are basically an owner's manual for how to run a safe set. [On Rust] they were ignored and not attached to the call sheets, which they're supposed to be," he continued. "Unfortunately, that's what led to a breakdown here... A lot of things have to go wrong [for a live round to get on a movie set]. The very first sentence in the very first safety bulletin about firearm safety is, 'There shall never be live rounds anywhere on a studio lot, or stage, or set.' It's so unheard of."
FULL INTERVIEW: Former “Rust” first camera assistant Lane Luper speaks out about safety concern claims on the movie set. https://t.co/0czCkzo5Wu
Jason Bowles, Gutierrez-Reed's lawyer, also spoke out on Wednesday's GMA, stating that discovering how live rounds got on the set is "going to be critical" amid the ongoing investigation.
"There was a box labeled 'dummy rounds' that Hannah had been pulling from. She knew her dummy rounds. Somebody put that live round or live rounds in that box," Bowles claimed. "When you do that, you can only have bad intentions, because you're going to confuse the rounds if you're the armorer. They appear very similarly."
"We know Hannah did not put the live rounds in that box, we know the live rounds shouldn't have been in that box, but they were... There is no purpose for a live round on this set. Zero. Hannah made that clear," he added. "There was no reason for there to be live rounds, she didn't have live rounds, she didn't purchase any of this ammunition. This ammunition was purchased by other people, production. Whoever brought these live rounds on set was wrong, and I think they had a bad intention. That's what we believe."
Bowles additionally noted that his client was "extremely safety-conscious on this set."
"She did her best to train people. She was given limited training days. She trained Alec Baldwin one-on-one on a day," he said. "She did her best to ensure nobody ever pointed a firearm at anybody on the set."
As for speculation that Gutierrez-Reed was too inexperienced to do her job, Bowles strongly disagreed.
"She's actually very experienced. She knows firearms. She knows safety. She knows the principles. This is not about her being inexperienced. It's about a production set where they didn't give the resources," he said. "She wasn't a full-time armorer. They didn't pay her for that. They didn't have her in that. It's the way they wanted to allocate resources and the emphasis on profitability, frankly, over safety. That's really what the case is."
FULL INTERVIEW: Jason Bowles, attorney for “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, speaks on the fatal film set shooting investigation. https://t.co/9t0crWL0wG
Over the weekend, Baldwin spoke on camera about the incident for the first time when he addressed paparazzi.
"She was my friend," he said of Hutchins. "The day I arrived in Santa Fe to start shooting I took her to dinner with Joel, the director. We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together, and then this horrible event happened... There are incidental accidents on film sets from time to time, but nothing like this. This is a one in a trillion episode. It's a one in a trillion event."
The fatal shooting was reportedly not the first time the Rust set was unsafe. Multiple reports noted that, prior to Hutchins' death and Souza's injury, union crew members walked off set to protest "poor" working conditions. As noted in Gutierrez-Reed's recent statement, there was also an incident that included the misfiring of a gun.