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Rust assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin loaded gun speaks out for the first time 

The assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin the gun loaded with live ammunition that he used to accidentally kill cinematographer Halyna Hutchins has spoken out for the first time. 

In a statement Monday addressing the October 21 shooting, David Halls called Hutchins his ‘friend’ and asked the industry to ‘reevaluate’ its values. 

‘I’m shocked and saddened by her death,’ Halls said. ‘It’s my hope that this tragedy prompts the industry to reevaluate its values and practices to ensure no one is harmed through the creative process again.’ 

‘Halyna Hutchins was not just one of the most talented people I’ve worked with, but also a friend,’ he added. 

Despite breaking his silence, the assistant director failed to address reports that he was one of the three people to handle the loaded gun before the tragic accident that killed Hutchins, 42, and wounded director Joel Souza. 

The other two were armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, and Baldwin, who received the gun from Halls.  

Rust assistant director David Halls issued his first statement since the October 21 shooting in the Santa Fe filming set that killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza

Despite breaking his silence, the assistant director failed to address reports that he was one of the three people to handle the loaded gun before the tragic accident that killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza

The other two were armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, and Baldwin, who received the gun from Halls.

Despite breaking his silence, the assistant director failed to address reports that he was one of the three people to handle the loaded gun before the tragic accident that killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza 

Halls had reportedly declared it a 'cold' weapon, meaning it was loaded only with blanks, without having checked all the rounds in the gun barrel. Above, Alec Baldwin speaks on the phone in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office in Santa Fe

Halls had reportedly declared it a ‘cold’ weapon, meaning it was loaded only with blanks, without having checked all the rounds in the gun barrel. Above, Alec Baldwin speaks on the phone in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office in Santa Fe

Search warrants reveal that Halls, and everyone else on the set, was unaware the gun he handed Baldwin contained live ammunition. 

Halls had reportedly declared it a ‘cold’ weapon, meaning it was loaded only with blanks, without having checked all the rounds in the gun barrel. 

Souza told Santa Fe police that Halls was supposed to check that  the gun was unloaded before handing it to Baldwin, but couldn’t recall if he had done it. 

‘He advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t recall if she [Gutierrez-Reed] spun the drum,’ court papers read. 

Halls spoke out just hours after the haunting final words of Hutchins as she lay dying on the Rust Santa Fe film set were revealed. 

‘That was no good. That was no good at all,’ Hutchins, 42, said seconds after she was fatally shot by Baldwin

Hutchins’ last words came after lead actor Baldwin discharged a prop Colt .45 revolver that was supposed to be loaded with blanks but contained live ammunition, and were reported Sunday by the Los Angeles Times after a slew of interviews with cast and crew. 

DailyMail.com exclusively obtained photos from the late mother-of-one’s wedding day 16 years ago, which show the Ukraine-born vixen adorned in a long, white gown, accompanied by her parents Olga and Anatoly Androsovych, and her husband, Matt Hutchins. 

DailyMail.com has obtained exclusive photos of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (pictured in the white wedding gown) on her wedding day 16 years ago, with husband Matt Hutchins (second from left) and parents Olga Androsovych (at far left) and Anatoly Androsovych

DailyMail.com has obtained exclusive photos of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (pictured in the white wedding gown) on her wedding day 16 years ago, with husband Matt Hutchins (second from left) and parents Olga Androsovych (at far left) and Anatoly Androsovych

'That was no good. That was no good at all,' the 42-year-old mother-of-two said seconds after she was fatally shot by Alec Baldwin on the set of indie Western Rust on October 21 before succumbing to her injuries

‘That was no good. That was no good at all,’ the 42-year-old mother-of-two said seconds after she was fatally shot by Alec Baldwin on the set of indie Western Rust on October 21 before succumbing to her injuries

Hutchins’ last words came after lead actor Baldwin discharged a prop Colt .45 revolver that was supposed to be loaded with blanks but contained live ammunition, and were reported Sunday by the Los Angeles Times after a slew of interviews with cast and crew. 

‘What the f**k just happened?’ Baldwin reportedly asked cast and crew members after the shot went off, and Hutchins suddenly stumbled back into head electrician Serge Svetnoy’s arms. Director Joel Souza also hit the deck after being grazed.   

DailyMail exclusively reported that Halls had reputation for being laxed with safety and was ‘flippant’ toward firearms on previous movie sets.  

As police investigate what exactly happened in the moments leading up to the tragic accident, pyrotechnicians and prop masters who worked with Halls on other projects told DailyMail.com about their concerns about him.  

One crew member, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being blacklisted, told DailyMail.com that he’d worked with Halls on two similarly low-budget sets in Los Angeles in spring 2019, one where a revolver and Glock were used, and another involving shotguns.  

Each morning they’d have a meeting to discuss the weapons and other safety issues, an industry standard. But he said Halls didn’t think they were needed.

‘He was very flippant about my insistence on having a safety meeting about the weapons, on both of the sets,’ said the crew member, who asked to use the pseudonym ‘Jay’ and has worked on films for 10 years.

‘He would rush through it and say, alright guys, be safe, let’s get to work.’

‘Even though the guns were not loaded, you have to treat it as if it always is,’ he said. ‘And for me that means doing a safety meeting that may be seen as unnecessary but should absolutely be done so that everyone is on the same page.’

 ‘He would rush through it and say, alright guys, be safe, let’s get to work’

‘Systemically, so much pressure is put on the first assistant directors to meet a schedule, to ‘make the day,’ meaning to get all the work done that you already have scheduled for the day,’ he continued. 

‘When it comes to safety on set, or having to wait for anything, because safety takes time, I have seen 1st ADs get annoyed for having to wait. 

‘But they ultimately understand it needs to be done. But when I worked with him, it was the only time I’ve had any AD ask me, ‘Do we really need to have a safety meeting?”

On both sets, no live bullets were used, and no guns were pointed at another person. Camera angles made it appear as if the guns were on target. And before anyone placed their finger on a trigger, an ‘armorer’ or person on set responsible for weapons, would shine a flashlight down the barrel to show no blockage or potential projectile.

‘When you fire, no projectile is supposed to come out, though it still could be dangerous,’ Jay said. ‘That’s where there are rules. You don’t aim it at anybody at any time.’

Halls has removed his Twitter and LinkedIn accounts after the shooting. He first spoke out on Monday about the tragic accident

Halls has removed his Twitter and LinkedIn accounts after the shooting. He first spoke out on Monday about the tragic accident

Sources on the set of Rust said the incident that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins could be tied to the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed

 Sources on the set of Rust said the incident that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins could be tied to the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed

And in no instance would an assistant director ever touch the gun, he said.

‘His job is to check the guns, visually, check them with the actor and with the steward on set who is the property person or the armorer,’ Jay said.

‘The chain of custody for the gun should only be between the armorer, the property person and the actor directly handling it.’

On the set of Rust, Jay said, first of all there shouldn’t have been any live ammunition on the set.

But he believes Hall is primarily responsible for the tragedy because he reportedly shouted ‘cold gun’ without having visually inspected the weapon to ‘clear the gun.’

‘That’s what makes me feel he is in every way responsible,’ Jay told DailyMail.com.

‘First of all, he was never supposed to handle that prop. Then he declared it a cold gun. It literally takes just a few seconds to check the gun to make sure it’s safe. 

‘He had no idea if it was a cold gun, so why make that announcement?

The crew were filming a scene inside this church when the shooting happened on Thursday. Production has now been halted

The crew were filming a scene inside this church when the shooting happened on Thursday. Production has now been halted

‘If it weren’t for the actions he took in those few seconds, I believe Halyna would still be alive,’ he concluded.

Maggie Goll, a pyrotechnician who worked with Halls in 2019 for a Hulu series Into The Dark, told DailyMail.com that she complained to the Directors Guild of America about him after he tried to push on with filming despite a crew member having a diabetic fit.

The crewmember was also a pyrotechnician who was needed on set to supervise a scene involving a fireplace filled with 100 candles. When he collapsed, Goll said she extinguished everything and called for an ambulance but Halls wanted to keep shooting.

On that same shoot, she says he ‘neglected to hold safety meetings’. 

‘Dave neglected to hold safety meetings or make announcements prior to the appearance of a firearm on set on a daily basis.

‘The only reason the crew was made aware of a weapon’s presence was because the Assistant Prop Master demanded Dave acknowledge and announce the situation each day.

A girl pays her respects at a vigil held for Halyna in Burbank, California, on October 23

A girl pays her respects at a vigil held for Halyna in Burbank, California, on October 23

‘This Asst Prop Master would announce each day when a gun would be required on camera, the disposition of that weapon – whether it was a rubber/plastic replica, a non-firing option, or a ‘cold’ functional but unloaded option, allowing anyone to inspect said weapon prior to bringing it to set and presenting it to the talent.

‘The Prop Master also was extremely vigilant in reclaiming any distributed weapons prior to the talent leaving set.

‘The Prop Master frequently admonished Dave for dismissing the talent without returning props, weapon included, or failing to make safety announcements.’ 

After the shoot, she says she filed multiple complaints with a safety line and tried to contact the Directors Guild of America but ‘nothing was done’. 

‘That was the last I saw of Dave and that AP. That is, until I saw Dave’s name pop up in relation to the accident on the set of ‘Rust.’ 

‘I am gutted at not pushing harder for greater accountability and safety.

‘Many of us have messaged each other wondering the same thing: is there something we could have done then that would have prevented the tragedy in New Mexico yesterday? 

‘It is a horrible feeling,’ she said. 


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