Dave Halls, the first assistant director on Rust, acknowledged to investigators that he did not do a thorough job checking a weapon for live rounds before handing it off to Alec Baldwin. Baldwin was seemingly unaware that the weapon, a Cult 45, was loaded when he fired it during rehearsals last Thursday, resulting in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
According to a police affidavit released on Wednesday (via Variety), Halls told detectives that he did not check all of the rounds. He also couldn’t recall if the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, had spun the drum of the weapon.
In explaining the safety practices for weapons on set, Halls said, “I check the barrel for obstructions, most of the time there’s no live fire, [Hannah] opens the hatch and spins the drum, and I say ‘cold gun on set.’” he told investigators.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Halls said he retrieved the gun and took it to Gutierrez-Reed. “Hannah then was told to ‘open’ the gun so he could see what was inside. David advised he could only remember seeing at least four ‘dummy’ casings with the hole on the side, and one without the hole. He advised this round did not have the ‘cap’ on it and was just the casing. David advised the incident was not a deliberate act,” according to the affidavit.
Gutierrez-Reed told investigators that live ammunition was not used on set, but Sheriff Adan Mendoza reported recovering multiple live rounds, including the one that is believed to have killed Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.
Gutierrez-Reed also stated that the weapons were kept secure in a safe in a prop truck when not in use, but acknowledged that ammunition was left out in the open and not secured when the crew took a lunch prior to the shooting.
All told, detectives collected “a total of 500 rounds of ammunition — that is a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what we are suspecting [are] live rounds,” Sheriff Mendoza told reporters on Wednesday.
Sheriff Mendoza added that Baldwin, Halls, and Gutierrez-Reed are all cooperating with the investigation. Santa Fe County’s district attorney, Mary Carmack-Altwies, said that her office hasn’t ruled out criminal charges, adding that everything “is on the table.”
As a Consequence investigation uncovered, both Halls and Guiterrez-Reed had been linked to several on-set miscues and accidents prior to last week’s shooting.