Alec Baldwin’s Assistant Director Sentenced in “Rust” Set Shooting Case: What You Need to Know
Alec Baldwin's assistant director on the set of “Rust,” Dave Halls, was sentenced to six months of probation, a $500 fine, and 24 hours of community service after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. The charge stemmed from Halls' failure to check for live bullets before handing Baldwin the gun that he used to fatally shoot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the low-budget western in October 2021. Halls will also have to testify in any upcoming trials related to the case and participate in a firearms safety course.
Baldwin has maintained that he did not pull the trigger of the gun, saying that he cocked the hammer but did not fire. However, prosecutors have argued that Baldwin was pointing the pistol at Hutchins when the weapon went off, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza. Baldwin and Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was responsible for firearms safety and training, have both pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter that carry a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and fines.
According to prosecutors, there were two prior incidents where weapons were discharged before Hutchins' death, and the camera crew had walked off the set due to safety concerns. The prosecutor also noted that Gutierrez Reed loaded the firearm with what was supposed to be dummy rounds, and Halls should have checked to confirm that the rounds were actually dummy rounds. Halls has denied under oath that he handed the gun off to Baldwin, saying he remembers Gutierrez Reed giving it directly to the actor, and that he did not say “cold gun.”
Santa Fe's top prosecutor, 1st Judicial Dist. Attorney. Mary Carmack-Altwies, stepped down from the case after Gutierrez Reed's lawyers challenged her involvement, arguing that the law did not allow the D.A. to participate while a special prosecutor also served on the case. Kari T. Morrissey, an Albuquerque litigator, and her law partner, Jason Lewis, replaced Carmack-Altwies.
The case has sparked discussions about firearms safety on sets, with many calling for stricter regulations and protocols to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future. It remains to be seen what the outcome of Baldwin and Gutierrez Reed's trials will be, but the issue of gun safety in the entertainment industry is likely to remain a topic of concern and debate moving forward.
0. “‘Rust' assistant director David Halls sentenced to probation” New York Post , 31 Mar. 2023, https://nypost.com/2023/03/31/rust-assistant-director-david-halls-sentenced-to-probation/
1. “‘Rust' Shooting: Assistant Director David Halls Sentenced to 6 Months Unsupervised Probation” CBS News 8, 31 Mar. 2023, https://www.cbs8.com/article/entertainment/entertainment-tonight/rust-shooting-assistant-director-david-halls-sentenced-to-6-months-unsupervised-probation/603-1481033c-1bb2-4a68-a249-6f9547a5667e
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