Rust’ Assistant Director Acknowledges Negligence in Firearm Safety Inspection

MANCHESTER, VT - OCTOBER 30: Hilaria Baldwin and Alec Baldwin speak for the first time regarding the accidental shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, and wounded director Joel Souza on the set of the film "Rust", on October 30, 2021 in Manchester, Vermont.

In court, the first assistant director of Rust admitted to being negligent for not verifying safety measures before an incident occurred on set in 2021, resulting in the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

David Halls, the first assistant director on Rust, delivered heartfelt testimony on Thursday during the trial of armorer Hannah Gutierrez, 26, who is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter in the incident.

Baldwin, who is also facing involuntary manslaughter charges and scheduled to stand trial in July, has consistently maintained he never pulled the trigger on the gun that fired and killed Hutchins and wounded the film’s director, Joel Souza.

The FBI and firearms experts maintain that it was highly unlikely for the weapon to discharge without the trigger being activated.

Baldwin was rehearsing a cross-draw on a movie set in Santa Fe, N.M., when the gun discharged a live round, hitting Hutchins, who tragically passed away, and Souza, who sustained a non-life-threatening injury.

Halls, who also served as the film’s safety coordinator, had performed the safety inspection on the Colt .45 revolver before it was given to Baldwin.

Baldwin had been talking with Hutchins about where to aim the gun before the shooting happened, a visibly upset Halls informed the court as tears filled his eyes.

“Then the gun went off,” Halls stated. It just wasn’t adding up. I believed that a blank round had been loaded.

Halls testified that he quickly went to Hutchins, who was on the ground and said, “I can’t feel my legs.”

Actor Halls Testifies on Negligence During Firearm Incident

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO – FEBRUARY 22: Defense attorney Jason Bowles redirects blame toward actor Alec Baldwin who held the gun in the Rust movie production shooting during opening arguments in the trial for armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed on charges of involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence in Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer’s courtroom at First Judicial District Courthouse on February 22, 2024 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Gutierrez-Reed, who was working as the armorer on the movie “Rust” when a revolver actor Alec Baldwin was holding fired killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded the film’s director Joel Souza, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence.


Last year, Halls was sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation after being charged with negligent use of a deadly weapon, as part of a plea deal.

“I failed to properly check the gun,” Halls admitted when prosecutors questioned him on Thursday about why he agreed to the plea deal.

Halls testified on Thursday to ensure that the public was aware of the actual events that took place on the movie set.

“It’s important for Halyna’s husband and son, her family, to be aware of the truth,” he stated. The cast, crew, and producers of Rust need to understand what occurred.

It’s crucial for the industry, specifically the motion picture and television sector, to be aware of what occurred to prevent any future incidents.

Halls stated that Gutierrez loaded the gun with dummy rounds and displayed the cylinder to him, mentioning that Gutierrez passed the gun to Baldwin before leaving.

Gutierrez and Baldwin both claimed that Halls gave the actor the gun. When asked by lawyers, Halls acknowledged the discrepancies but maintained his position.

Gutierrez faced charges of involuntary manslaughter in Hutchins’ death after an investigation.

She faced charges for tampering with evidence. She entered a plea of not guilty for that as well as a drug charge.

According to prosecutors, Gutierrez gave a small bag of cocaine to a law enforcement officer following her interview about the accidental shooting.

According to her attorneys, Gutierrez is being unfairly targeted in the case and was accused of careless weapon handling.

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