Alec Baldwin Set Shooting

Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., in 2021. Jae C. Hong/Associated Press file

The “Rust” first assistant director who pleaded guilty to negligence in the shooting death of Halyna Hutchins told authorities no one person owns all the blame for the on-set incident.

In a deposition obtained by Variety, Dave Halls in December said the shooting was caused by “a tragic series of mistakes.” His account appears to differ from those given by other parties involved.

“It’s just like what they say about an airplane crash,” he continued. “It’s like it’s just not one thing, y’know. It’s a system failure.”

Halls has since agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. The terms of his deal include six months of probation and a suspended sentence. He has also agreed to testify against the film’s producer and leading man, Alec Baldwin, and the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who are each facing counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with Hutchins’ death.

Baldwin was rehearsing for a scene inside the Bonanza Creek Ranch, on the outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico, when he mistakenly shot Hutchins as she readied the camera for a take. The film’s director, Joel Souza, was also struck in the shoulder. He said Baldwin was seated in a church pew, practicing a move in which he pulls a pistol from his holster when it suddenly went off.

However, Halls’ account of the events that preceded the gunfire conflicts with others on set.


In the moments before the deadly shooting, it’s been said that Halls handed the firearm to Baldwin and called out “cold gun” despite the chamber containing live ammunition, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Alec Baldwin Set Shooting

A musician plays a violin behind a photograph of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a vigil in her honor in Albuquerque, N.M., in October 2021. Andres Leighton/Associated Press file

In a deposition with attorneys from the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau, Halls denied passing off the gun to the actor. The regulatory agency is seeking to impose a $136,793 penalty for workplace safety violations.

Halls said he gave the gun to Gutierrez Reed, who in turn handed it to Baldwin. He has also denied calling out “cold gun,” a term used to alert people on set that no live rounds were being used.

“I don’t have any recollection of me saying that,” Halls said. “I have recollections of Hannah saying it.”

Gutierrez Reed has offered a different version of events. She has stressed that while she doesn’t know how the live round made it into the gun’s chamber, she was sure she gave the firearm to Halls – not Baldwin – and then walked out of the room.

In her deposition, Gutierrez Reed also emphasized that she never uses the term “cold gun.”

“I don’t like the term ‘cold gun,’” she testified. “I know it got thrown around a lot on the set. That was mostly Dave’s terminology.”

For his part, Baldwin has offered several different accounts of the incident, initially telling investigators Gutierrez Reed gave him the gun. He later reversed course and told officers it was Halls who handed him the firearm. And in his first interview, Baldwin also said he only assumed the gun was “cold” but later said Halls declared it a “cold gun” in another sit-down with authorities.

Souza also told police that Halls called “cold gun” but could not recall whether it was earlier in the day or just prior to the incident.

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