The “Rust” crew member who reportedly gave Alec Baldwin a prop gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was previously the subject of a safety complaint.
Crew member Maggie Goll said in a statement to The Associated Press that she filed an internal complaint with the executive producers of Hulu’s “Into the Dark” series in 2019 over concerns about assistant director Dave Halls’ behavior on set. Goll said in an email Sunday that Halls disregarded safety protocols for weapons and pyrotechnics and tried to continue filming after a crew member had “slipped into a diabetic fugue state.”
“He did not maintain a safe working environment,” Goll told NBC News. “Sets were almost always allowed to become increasingly claustrophobic, no established fire lanes, exits blocked … safety meetings were nonexistent.”
Baldwin fired a prop gun on the New Mexico set of the film “Rust” Thursday, killing 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her. Souza has since been released from a hospital. It was previously reported that Halls handed Baldwin the firearm, mistakenly announcing at the time that it was a “cold gun,” meaning that it was an unloaded weapon. Instead, it was loaded with live rounds, according to the records.
The gun Baldwin used was one of three that a firearms specialist, or armorer, had set on a cart outside the building where a scene was being rehearsed, according to court records. Halls grabbed a gun off a cart and handed it to Baldwin, according to the records.
Alec Baldwin was involved in a tragic accident that left a cinematographer dead on the set of ‘Rust.’ (Jim Spellman/Getty Images)
Baldwin, 63, who is known for his roles in “30 Rock” and “The Hunt for Red October” and his impression of former President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” broke his silence on the shooting on Friday, one day after the incident.
“There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours,” Baldwin said on Twitter.
“I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna,” the actor concluded.
Baldwin, who is a producer on “Rust,” met with Hutchins’ husband and 9-year-old son Saturday at a hotel in Santa Fe where the actor had been staying during filming. Baldwin and Hutchins’ husband can be seen embracing in an emotional meeting.
Goll, a prop maker and licensed pyrotechnician, said in her email that Halls’ behavior on set has concerned her in the past.
Halyna Hutchins died on the set of ‘Rust.’ (Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie)
During work on “Into the Dark,” Halls didn’t hold safety meetings and consistently failed to announce the presence of a firearm on set to the crew, as is protocol, Goll said. The assistant prop master admonished Halls several times for dismissing the actors and actresses before they had returned weapons to the props table, she said.
“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,” she wrote.
The Bonanza Creek Film Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., is shown Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of a Western being filmed at the ranch on Thursday, Oct. 21, killing the cinematographer, officials said. The director of the movie was wounded, and authorities are investigating. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
She filed an internal complaint with the executive producers of Blumhouse Productions, she said.
“To my knowledge nothing was done after my complaints,” she wrote.
A spokesman for Blumhouse Productions told NBC News, “We used non-firing, dummy firearm props during the production of “Pure.” No complaints were received via the studio’s anonymous reporting system EthicsPoint/Navex regarding safety concerns.”
“We cannot comment on personnel matters,” the Blumhouse spokesperson added regarding allegations against Halls.
Fox News’ attempts to reach Halls were not successful.
“I am gutted at not pushing harder for greater accountability and safety,” Goll said. “Many of us have messaged each other wondering the same thing: Is there something we could have done then that would have prevented the tragedy? It is a horrible feeling.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.