'Rust' Assistant Director Accused Of Gun Issues Prior To Baldwin Incident

By Jason Hall

October 25, 2021

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The individual who allegedly handed Alec Baldwin a loaded gun prior to a fatal shooting accident on the set of the movie Rust last week had reportedly been accused of at least one prior incident of unsafe working conditions related to firearms.

Prop maker and pyrotechnical Maggie Goll told both CNN and NBC News that Dave Halls -- who serves as the assistant director on Rust -- didn't hold safety meetings and failed to announce when a firearm was present on set when the two worked on the Hulu series Into the Dark in 2019.

“There is absolutely no reason that gun safety should be ignored on set, even when it is a non-firing prop firearm,” Goll told NBC News. “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.”

Goll noted that Halls was frequently scolded by the Into the Dark prop master for his behavior, which included dismissing on-set talent before they returned props such as firearms.

“He did not maintain a safe working environment,” Goll told NBC News. “Sets were almost always allowed to become increasingly claustrophobic, no established fire lanes, exits blocked ... safety meetings were nonexistent.”

Goll told the Associated Press that she filed an internal complaint with the executive producers of Blumhouse Productions, but doesn't believe any punishment was levied for Halls' actions.

“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?” Goll said. “It is a horrible feeling.”

On Friday (October 22), IATSE Local 44, which covers prop masters, confirmed the weapon fired by Alec Baldwin on-set that accidentally killed a cinematographer and injured a director on Thursday (October 21) contained "a live round," IndieWire reported.

Last Thursday, NBC News reported director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, 42, was killed during the accidental shooting, while director, Joel Souza, 48, was injured, the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office confirmed in a statement.

The union confirmed in the email to IndieWire that Souza was released from a local hospital after receiving treatment.

Baldwin addressed the accident in a statement obtained by TMZ last Friday morning.

"There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours," Baldwin said "I'm fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred. I am in touch with with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna."

An eyewitness on the set of the Santa Fe film Rust told Showbiz 411 they heard a distraught Baldwin repeatedly say, “In all my years, I’ve never been handed a hot gun," meaning a gun with real ammunition.

Hutchins was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where she was pronounced dead.

The witness told Showbiz 411 that Baldwin, 63, was immediately taken to a hospital after the shooting and "had no idea how badly they were hurt or Halyna was dead."

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Baldwin was seen Thursday while speaking on the phone outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office.

"There was an accident today on the New Mexico set of 'Rust involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks," a spokesperson for Baldwin said in a statement obtained by NBC News on Thursday. "Production has been halted for the time being. The safety of our cast and crew remains our top priority."

No charges have been filed in relation to the shooting, but authorities confirmed it remains under an active investigation.

“We’re treating this as we would any other investigation,” Sheriff's Office spokesman Juan Rios said via NBC News, adding that deputies were still determining whether the shooting was accidental.

Baldwin is one of the film's stars and also serves as a producer.

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