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

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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.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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