Speed Reads

tragedy on set

Rust assistant director reportedly admits he didn't thoroughly check gun handed to Alec Baldwin

The assistant director on the Alec Baldwin movie Rust has reportedly acknowledged he failed to thoroughly check the gun that was handed to the actor before a fatal on-set shooting last week.

According to an affidavit, Rust assistant director Dave Halls told investigators that armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed opened the gun for him to inspect before handing it to Baldwin, and Halls "advised he should have checked all of" the rounds in the gun, "but didn't, and couldn't recall if she spun the drum," The New York Times reports. Halls reportedly said he only remembered seeing three rounds in the gun. After the shooting, he says he brought the gun to Reed and saw "at least four dummy casings with the holes on the side, and one without the hole." 

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed, and director Joel Souza was wounded, while Baldwin was rehearsing a scene on the set of Rust and the gun discharged. Halls reportedly told investigators that typically, Reed "spins the drum, and I say cold gun on set," meaning the gun doesn't have live rounds in it; he said "cold gun" prior to the fatal shooting, according to NBC News. Halls was previously fired from a film in 2019 after a gun discharged on set. 

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said Wednesday officials have recovered around 600 pieces of evidence in their investigation into the Rust shooting, including "the actual lead projectile that was fired." Officials also recovered 500 rounds of ammunition, which included blanks, dummy rounds, and suspected live rounds. Mendoza said it was too early to comment on whether any criminal charges could be brought, but Santa Fe County District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said "all options are on the table at this point," and in terms of who could face charges, "no one has been ruled out."