The blame game surrounding the Rust tragedy is definitely getting complicated.
As we’ve been reporting, while Alec Baldwin shot the prop gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, he’s likely not the one who was ultimately responsible for the tragedy. Instead, fingers have pointed towards first AD Dave Halls and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who both have safety issues in their history and supposedly handled the gun before Baldwin that day. Halls in particular has been described as “flippant” about safety regulations — and was reportedly the one who announced the gun was safe before handing it to the star.
On Monday, Halls’ attorney Lisa Torraco was interviewed on Fox News, and her statements complicated the matter even further. She acknowledged:
“This tragedy is overwhelming to all of us. … It’s deeply saddening to my client.”
However, she then outright denied some of the previous reports from the set that day, saying:
“In the affidavits, it states that my client grabbed the gun off of a prop cart and handed it to Baldwin. That absolutely did not happen.”
Huh?! The affidavit was wrong???
Truthfully, Torraco was a bit slippery when pressed to admit whether Halls actually, physically handled the gun at all prior to the shooting. She cited varying witness accounts, where some remembered the armorer handing off the gun, while others said Hannah brought the gun to set, another crew member checked it, and then Halls checked the firearm “like a pass-through” before handing it to the actor “because he was between the two.” Some apparently recalled Halls holding it for Alec when he adjusted his holster.
Even in her own retelling, it seems pretty likely that Halls handled the gun that day. Still, Torraco stated:
“My client didn’t load the firearm. My client didn’t point the firearm at anyone. And my client didn’t pull the trigger. The armorer comes in, the armorer opens the firearm, my client looks at it and one of the other crew members also checks it. Whether or not he handed the firearm directly to Alec Baldwin at that moment or whether the armorer handed it directly to Alec Baldwin at that moment doesn’t really matter because he didn’t load it.”
We would argue that in the case of a fatal accidental shooting, every little bit of information does matter when trying to understand exactly what went wrong. But the lawyer insisted:
“He’s not responsible for checking it. That’s not the assistant director’s job. If he chooses to check the firearm because he wants to make sure that everyone’s safe, he can do that, but that’s not his responsibility.”
Weird, because Halls himself told law enforcement that the procedure was for him to “check the barrel for obstructions, most of the time there’s no live fire, she opens the hatch and spins the drum, and I say, ‘Cold gun on set.’” He even admitted that he should have checked all the rounds — but didn’t.
The attorney didn’t answer any questions about the reported gun-related incident from a previous job. However, she did say that the current situation is “extra hard for because not only is he so overwhelmed with sadness, but now the target of the investigation, people are starting to point fingers at him and it’s overwhelming.”
We’d say it’s also “extra hard” for director Joel Souza, who was shot and injured that day, or for Halyna’s family, who are mourning her loss. Whether he’s legally responsible or not, Halls appears to have admitted to being negligent about safety leading up to the accident. That may have been just one of the many factors that had to go wrong for this tragic event to occur, but Halls will just have to deal with how “extra hard” this is while the investigation continues.
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