The assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin the gun that officials said killed a cinematographer on the set of his movie Rust last week was previously fired from a film in 2019 over a gun that was unexpectedly discharged that injured a crew member, NBC News reported. A producer who worked on the film Freedom’s Path told NBC News that assistant director Dave Halls was removed from the New Mexico set and later fired. The crew member who was shot reportedly recoiled and was told to seek medical attention by the on-set medic.
Dave was very remorseful for the events and understood the reasons he was being terminated, the unnamed producer said.
Special effects technician Maggie Goll told NBC News that Hall did not maintain a safe working environment on the set of a Hulu series she worked alongside him. She said he did not hold safety meetings or announce when a gun was on set, adding that Hall attempted to continue filming even after a pyrotechnician suffered a medical emergency.
Three crew members on the set of Rust told The New York Times last week that there had been two previous accidental weapon discharges before the fatal incident. The three who spoke to the newspaper quit the film before the incident involving Baldwin.
On Thursday, Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza while he was reportedly practicing drawing the gun. According to an affidavit released on Friday, Baldwin had been told that the gun was safe to use when it was given to him.
Assistant director Dave Halls, who was identified in an affidavit as the person who handed Baldwin the gun, was fired from Freedom’s Path in 2019 after a crew member was injured following the unexpected discharge of a firearm, said a producer from Freedom’s Path, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the current investigation.
Halls was removed from set immediately after the prop gun discharged
The producer said. Production did not resume filming until Dave was off-site. An incident report was taken and filed at that time.
The affidavit reportedly stated that the assistant director, Halls, did not know live rounds were in the prop-gun. In an email statement to The Associated Press, a producer for the movie Freedom’s Path confirmed that Dave Halls was fired from the 2019 production after a crew member suffered a minor injury when a gun was unexpectedly discharged. The producer, who asked not to be identified by name, wrote that Halls was removed from the set immediately. Production did not resume until Halls was gone.
AFL–CIO President Liz Shuler tweeted one day after the accident, Yesterday’s set incident was a tragedy and a heartbreaking example of why production companies MUST take the safety & protection of our filmmakers more seriously.
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Since the incident, Baldwin has released a statement expressing his shock and sadness, and has said that he is fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred.
Film industry workers have come forward since the incident, saying it was indicative of a larger problem within the movie-making business as a whole that disregards safety concerns. The Los Angeles Times reported that Hutchins herself had been calling for safer on-set conditions while filming.