'Rust' Assistant Director Fired from Prior Gig After Gun Accident Left Film Crew Member Injured


The assistant director who reportedly handed the prop gun to actor Alec Baldwin before last week’s fatal shooting on the movie set of “Rust” in New Mexico was previously fired from a production following a gun incident.

Dave Halls was serving as assistant director on the yet-to-be-released film “Freedom’s Path” in 2019, when a gun “was unexpectedly discharged,” which caused a “minor and temporary injury” to a crew member, according to a statement from the production company Rocket Soul Studios posted by David Schumer, a reporter with WCCO-TV in Minnesota.

“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,” the statement said.

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According to a CNN report, the incident injured a member of the movie’s sound crew who’d recoiled from the unexpected blast.

That worker returned to production after several days, CNN reported.

The Los Angeles Times reported that “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, was shot by Baldwin Thursday during a rehearsal of a scene at Bonanza Creek Ranch, near Santa Fe.

“According to a search warrant filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department and obtained by the Associated Press, Halls picked up one of three guns from a mobile cart that had been prepared by the production’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed. Halls allegedly declared ‘cold gun,’ meaning the weapon was not loaded, as he was handing it to Baldwin,” the Times said.

The Albuquerque Journal reported that, according to court records, Halls did not know the prop gun had live rounds when he handed it to Baldwin.

On a 911 call recording obtained by the Journal, script supervisor Mamie Mitchell can be heard saying regarding Halls, “This mother f*****, he’s supposed to check the guns. He’s responsible for what happens on the set.”

The duties of the first assistant director include overseeing set safety and keeping production on schedule, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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Six “Rust” crew members walked off the set earlier in the day, complaining of the rushed nature of shooting the film, safety, and pay, among other issues.

“We’ve now had three accidental discharges. This is super unsafe,” a text message from a crew member to the production manager, which was verified by the Times.

Halls is a veteran of several Hollywood productions, including “The Matrix Reloaded,” “Fargo” and “Brawl in Cell Block 99” as well as episodes of the television programs “Bones” and “Reno 911!”

The Associated Press reported the production of “Rust” has been suspended at least until the investigation of the fatal shooting incident is completed.

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The film’s producers described the halt in a email to the crew as “a pause rather than an end,” according to the AP.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith