AceShowbiz - The assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin the gun, which discharged and fatally injured Halyna Hutchins on the "Rust" set, had a history of unsafe working practices, according to a former colleague.
The cinematographer died on Thursday (21Oct21) after the star of the film fired the prop weapon while filming a scene in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the movie's director Joel Souza was also injured.
While the police investigation continues, a prop maker who worked with "Rust" assistant director Dave Halls on the U.S. anthology TV series "Into the Dark", has revealed her concerns about his safety record.
"He did not maintain a safe working environment," Maggie Goll, who is also a special effects technician and pyrotechnician, alleged in a detailed statement released over the weekend (22-24Oct21) to NBC News, referencing her work with Halls in 2019.
"Sets were almost always allowed to become increasingly claustrophobic, no established fire lanes, exits blocked... safety meetings were nonexistent."
Goll claims Halls once attempted to continue filming on "Into The Dark" even after the lead pyrotechnician had suffered a medical emergency and the set had become unsafe.
"There is absolutely no reason that gun safety should be ignored on set, even when it is a non-firing prop firearm," Goll said, suggesting Halls "did not feel the same" and refused to hold safety meetings or make announcements before a firearm appeared on set.
"The only reason the crew was made aware of a weapon's presence was because the assistant prop master demanded Dave acknowledge and announce the situation each day."
According to police records, Halls handed the prop gun to Baldwin before the fatal shooting, incorrectly informing the actor the weapon did not hold live rounds by yelling "cold gun."
CNN reports Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, "Rust" 's armourer, who was in charge of gun safety for the film, "set up" the weapon before it was handed to Halls. According to the Los Angeles Times, "Rust" is only the second film on which Gutierrez-Reed has been employed in the position.
On the "Voices of the West" podcast last month (Sep21), Reed, whose father Thell Reed is a veteran armourer, acknowledged her inexperience.
"(My dad) took me from being completely green and taught me everything that I know so far, and by all means I'm still learning. But yeah, Dad has taught me everything, but a lot of things, you know, I kind of just caught on by myself..."
She added, "I think loading blanks was like, the scariest thing to me, because I was like 'Oh, I don't know anything about it. But you know, (my father) taught me that, and eventually by the time I was like, trying to figure out how to make a specific blank go when you want it to rather than it hitting the empty cylinders and everything, I figured that out on my own."
Safety issues also resulted in a walk out of seven crew members on Thursday, hours before the tragic incident, a former member of the crew alleged in a private Facebook post, according to Deadline.