26th October, 2021
Dave Halls, the assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin, what he called a cold gun’ was sacked from a previous production for gun safety violations, the company said Monday.
When Baldwin fired the gun, it turned out it contained real bullets, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
The news came as it was reported that crew members had used that same weapon for live-ammunition target practice same day Hutchins died.
Hutchins was killed Thursday on the set of low-budget Western “Rust.”
“Dave Halls was fired from the set of ‘Freedom’s Path’ in 2019 after a crew member incurred a minor and temporary injury when a gun was unexpectedly discharged,” a producer for the as-yet-unreleased movie told AFP.
“Halls was removed from set immediately after the prop gun discharged. Production did not resume filming until Dave was off-site. An incident report was taken and filed at that time.”
Attention has focused on Halls and 24-year-old armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed in the wake of the tragedy on the set near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
An armorer is tasked with supplying and keeping weapons safe on set, ensuring that they are accounted for at all times, and locked away when not in use.
But entertainment trade website The Wrap reported Monday that crew members had been using the weapons just hours before Hutchins was killed.
“A number of crew members had taken prop guns from the New Mexico set of the indie Western — including the gun that killed Hutchins — to go ‘plinking,’ a hobby in which people shoot at beer cans with live ammunition,” the website said, citing an unidentified individual with knowledge of the set.
The developments came as a narrative of the tragedy emerged from an affidavit submitted by Santa Fe sheriffs as they sought a search warrant.
The document explains how Baldwin was practicing drawing his gun from his holster and pointing it at the camera when the accident happened.
The 63-year-old was “sitting in a pew in a church building setting, and he was practicing a cross draw,” director Joel Souza said in the affidavit, “pointing the revolver towards the camera lens.”
Souza told investigators he was looking over Hutchins’ shoulder “when he heard what sounded like a whip and then loud pop.”
The director said he remembered the 42-year-old Hutchins “grabbing her midsection.”
“Halyna began to stumble backwards and she was assisted to the ground,” the affidavit said. “Joel explained that he was bleeding from his shoulder and he could see blood on Halyna.”
Hutchins was declared dead in hospital a short time later. Souza, 48, was treated by doctors and sent home.
No one has been charged and no arrests have been made.