Assistant Director Dave Halls spoke out for the first time on Monday, a little under two weeks since the tragic prop gun accident on the set of Rust that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured the director, Joel Souza.
Halls did not address the incident by defending his role in the shooting or laying blame elsewhere. Instead, he simply called on the film industry to “reevaluate its values” regarding gun usage on set.
According to witnesses on set, David Halls was the person who took the gun off the firearm cart, placed there by armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, and handed it to Alec Baldwin. He reportedly told Alec that it was “cold,” which meant that it was ready for use, and Alec Baldwin shot the prop gun at the camera, killing Halyna Hutchins.
In his statement on Monday, he addressed his condolences, but did not comment on whether he felt like he shared any part of the responsibility.
“Halyna Hutchins was not just one of the most talented people I’ve worked with, but also a friend,” Halls said in his official statement. “I’m shocked and saddened by her death. 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.”
He expressed that he was “overwhelmed by the love and support” he received.
Authorities are still investigating what happened on set for live rounds to be in the prop gun fired by Alec Baldwin. According to authorities, only two known crew members touched the gun before Alec: armorer Hannah Reed and Assistant Director Dave Halls.
Last week, Hannah Gutierrez Reed discussed how she had “no idea’ how live rounds got on set, and that she was “devastated and completely beside herself over the events that transpired.”
Investigators revealed that the prop gun was loaded with a “lead projectile,” and “additional live rounds” were found later on set.
Reed denied having any live rounds on the premises, though sources told Dateline that there were many claims of misconduct regarding Reed on the set of Rust, including her lackadaisical approach to carrying and firing guns on set. According to The New York Times, Hannah Reed told detectives that ammunition was kept securely on a truck that was off set, but authorities alleged that there the cart had “live ammunition” on it as well.
Lisa Torraco, Dave Halls’ attorney, appeared on Fox News later in the day and denied that Halls ever even handed the firearm to Alec Baldwin.
Witnesses also denied hearing that Dave Halls called out that the gun was “cold,” according to the New York Post.
“This idea my client grabbed the gun and handed it to Baldwin absolutely did not happen,” Torraco said, later backtracking to say that more accurately, he “doesn’t know if he handed the gun to Alec Baldwin.”
She stressed that not only was it “not the assistant director’s job” to check the gun, but that she also believed that “the armorer brought the weapon in” and “[Halls] didn’t load it.”
Speaking with investigators, Director John Souza said that after Hannah Reed was supposed to check the gun and put it on the cart to make sure it wasn’t loaded, protocol on set was for the assistant director to double-check and for the actor to make a final check before firing.
According to a court affidavit given to Santa Fe authorities, Dave Halls told police that he couldn’t remember how thoroughly he checked the gun before handing it to Alec Baldwin.
“David advised when Hannah showed him the firearm before continuing rehearsal, he could only remember seeing three rounds,” the affidavit read. “He advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t recall if she spun the drum.”
As of Monday night, no charges have been filed by Sante Fe authorities.