David Halls—the Rust assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin the gun that discharged and resulted in the death Halyna Hutchins—was reportedly dismissed from another movie following a similar prop gun incident. During the filming of Freedom’s Path (2019) a prop gun accidentally discharged on set, resulting in the injury of a crew member.
Halls oversaw production as the AD for that film as well and a producer for Freedom’s Path attests that Halls was quickly removed from the set and replaced for the remainder of filming.
“I can confirm that Dave Halls was fired from the set of Freedom’s Path in 2019 after a crew member incurred a minor and temporary injury when a gun was unexpectedly discharged,” the unnamed producer confirmed to Deadline. “Halls was removed from set immediately after the prop gun discharged. Production did not resume filming until Dave was off-site.”
Additionally, Halls allegedly had behavioral complaints filed against him two years ago while working on Blumhouse TV’s anthology series Into the Dark.
“Dave Halls worked on two films for Blumhouse Television in 2019, and was not rehired after that time,” a Blumhouse TV spokesperson told Deadline.
Halls worked behind the scenes of the “Pure” and “Culture Shock” episodes of Into the Dark. The formal complaint during “Pure” cited Halls’ lack of respect for the space of fellow crew members and other coworkers. Halls was described as “very aggressive” and “intimidating on set” by a source close to Into the Dark.
Into The Dark prop maker Maggie Goll, described her experience working with Halls to NBC News. “At first he seemed like an older, affable first [assistant director] with the usual run of idiosyncrasies, but that facade soon disappeared,” she said.
“He did not maintain a safe working environment,” Goll alleged in a detailed statement. “Sets were almost always allowed to become increasingly claustrophobic, no established fire lanes, exits blocked. ... Safety meetings were nonexistent.”
During the production for “Culture Shock,” Hall reportedly pushed actor Creed Bratton to perform a dangerous stunt involving a firearm on set, which resulted in a projectile hitting the actor’s eye. Before the scene, crew members brought up their concerns about the stunt to Halls, but they were allegedly ignored due to “volatile” and “rushed” working environment under Halls.
“Creed himself expressed concern because he said ‘it’s not going to get my eye is it,’” Melissa Low Lyon, the former on-set dresser for Into the Dark, told Insider. “And then as soon as it happened, he said ‘I fucking knew it.’”
According to the affidavit filed by Detective Joel Cano of the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office on October 22, Halls handed Baldwin a prop gun, telling him the firearm was a “cold gun,” meaning it contained no live rounds. All of the prop guns were prepared by Rust on-set armorer Hannah Gutierrez, and Cano’s affidavit states Halls “did not know live rounds were in the prop gun.”
While ADs are typically responsible for overall safety during production, it’s not been stated why Halls handled the weapon and not Gutierrez. In the 911 call made following the shooting, script supervisor Mamie Mitchell blamed Halls for not double checking the gun before filming.
“This fucking AD that yelled at me at lunch asking about revisions, this motherfucker,” Mitchell said on the call. “He’s supposed to check the guns. He’s responsible for what happened.”
Per Deadline, the Santa Fe Sheriff’s office interviewed Halls, Baldwin, Gutierrez, Souza and other Rust crew members on October 21. All were subsequently released and told they’re free to leave New Mexico. No one has been charged or arrested in connection with the shooting. Production for Rust remains shut down.