‘Rust’ assistant director Dave Halls breaks silence following fatal on-set shooting

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The assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin the gun used in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer has broken his silence on the incident but did not provide the details of the incident.

On Oct. 21, Baldwin was rehearsing a scene for the Western-genre film when he discharged a firearm that he was told was unloaded. The projectile struck and ultimately killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Dave Halls was one of four people to handle the gun the day of the shooting, law enforcement has said, along with Baldwin, armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and prop master Sarah Zachry.

On Monday, Halls broke his silence on the matter, offering a statement to the New York Post.

LAWYER FOR ‘RUST’ ASSISTANT DIRECTOR REFUSES TO ANSWER IF HE HANDED GUN TO ALEC BALDWIN

Dave Halls, ‘Rust’ assistant director who authorities say handed the gun to Baldwin, has broken his silence following a deadly on-set shooting.

Dave Halls, ‘Rust’ assistant director who authorities say handed the gun to Baldwin, has broken his silence following a deadly on-set shooting.
(IMDb / Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican)

“Halyna Hutchins was not just one of the most talented people I’ve worked with, but also a friend,” he said. “I’m shocked and saddened by her death.”

The filmmaker continued: “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.”

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Halls didn’t provide any details of what he thinks might be reformed or how changes might have helped avoid what happened on the set of “Rust.”

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed after being hit by a projectile from a firearm on the New Mexico set of 'Rust.'

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed after being hit by a projectile from a firearm on the New Mexico set of ‘Rust.’
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong  |  Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie)

Furthermore, he said that he’s “overwhelmed by the love and support” and added that his “thoughts are with all who knew and loved Halyna.”

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said last week there was “some complacency” in how weapons were handled on the set. Investigators found around 500 rounds of ammunition — a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and suspected live rounds — even though the set’s firearms specialist, Gutierrez-Reed, said real ammo should never have been present.

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Gutierrez-Reed said through her attorneys that she didn’t know where the live rounds came from and blamed producers for unsafe working conditions.

Alec Baldwin discharged a firearm – he was told was ‘cold’ or unloaded – on the set of 'Rust.'

Alec Baldwin discharged a firearm – he was told was ‘cold’ or unloaded – on the set of ‘Rust.’
(Jim Spellman/Getty Images)

On Monday, Halls’ attorney Lisa Torraco appeared on “The Story with Martha MacCallum” and first said that Halls “absolutely did not” hand the loaded gun to Baldwin, though later backtracked and dodged questions on the matter.

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When pressed further, the attorney said she has spoken to some crew members who remember Gutierrez-Reed handing the weapon to Baldwin while others recall seeing Halls pass it to the actor directly after being passed the weapon by Gutierrez-Reed himself.

According to a warrant from authorities, Baldwin was handed the firearm by Halls. A warrant stated that Halls handed the gun to Baldwin and declared it “cold,” an industry term meaning that the weapon was not loaded with ammunition, including blanks. Per The Associated Press, citing the application for the search warrant, Halls was unaware live rounds were inside the firearm.

The gun Baldwin used was one of three that Gutierrez-Reed had placed on a cart outside the building where a scene was being rehearsed, according to court records.

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The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department is still investigating the incident and said it was “too early” to comment on potential charges during a press conference Wednesday. However, Sheriff Adan Mendoza has since referred to the department’s efforts as a “criminal investigation.”

“I’d be careful using the word ‘accident,'” Mendoza said during an appearance Thursday on “Fox & Friends.”

“This is obviously a tragedy, and it was avoidable, so right now it’s a criminal investigation.”

Fox News’ Lauryn Overhultz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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