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Assistant director of Baldwin film fired after 2019 mishap

by The Associated. Press | October 25, 2021 at 10:00 p.m.
A security guard closes the gate after a Santa Fe County Sheriff's vehicle entered the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. Production of the movie that Alec Baldwin was making when he shot and killed a cinematographer last week has been officially halted, but producers of the Western described the move as "a pause rather than an end." (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The assistant director of the movie that Alec Baldwin was making when he fatally shot a cinematographer was fired from a previous job in 2019 after a gun went off on a set and slightly wounded a member of the film crew, a producer said Monday.

The disclosure emerged as producers of Baldwin's movie officially halted filming, and court records showed that investigators seized more than two dozen items from the set on the day after the shooting.

In an email statement to The Associated Press, a producer for the movie "Freedom's Path" confirmed that Dave Halls was fired from the 2019 production after a crew member suffered a minor injury "when a gun was unexpectedly discharged." The producer, who asked not to be identified by name, wrote that Halls "was removed from the set immediately." Production did not resume until Halls was gone.

His firing from "Freedom's Path" was first reported by CNN. Halls has not returned phone calls and email messages seeking comment. The producer is the second person to air doubts about Halls' safety record. On Sunday, another crew member who worked with Halls said she raised concerns about him in 2019.

Maggie Goll, a prop maker and licensed pyrotechnician, said in a statement that she filed an internal complaint with the executive producers of Hulu's "Into the Dark" series over Halls' behavior. Goll said in a phone interview that Halls disregarded safety protocols for weapons and pyrotechnics and tried to continue filming after the supervising pyrotechnician, who was diabetic, lost consciousness on set.

The fatal shooting and previous experiences point to larger safety issues, Goll said.

"This situation is not about Dave Halls. ... It's in no way one person's fault," she said. "It's a bigger conversation about safety on set and what we are trying to achieve with that culture."

In an email sent to "Rust" crew members over the weekend, the movie's production team confirmed that work on the Western has been suspended at least until the investigation is complete. The team said it is working with law enforcement and conducting its own internal safety review. The production company is also offering grief counseling.

--The Associated Press

Alec Baldwin speaks on the phone in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office in Santa Fe, N.M., after he was questioned about a shooting on the set of the film "Rust" on the outskirts of Santa Fe, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza, officials said. (Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)
Alec Baldwin speaks on the phone in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office in Santa Fe, N.M., after he was questioned about a shooting on the set of the film "Rust" on the outskirts of Santa Fe, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza, officials said. (Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)
Attendees embrace at a candlelight vigil for the late cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, pictured in photographs in the background, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Burbank, Calif. A prop firearm discharged last Thursday by actor Alec Baldwin, while producing and starring in a Western movie in Santa Fe, N.M., killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Attendees embrace at a candlelight vigil for the late cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, pictured in photographs in the background, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Burbank, Calif. A prop firearm discharged last Thursday by actor Alec Baldwin, while producing and starring in a Western movie in Santa Fe, N.M., killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
A film set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch appears in Santa Fe, N.M., Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. A camera operator told authorities that Alec Baldwin had been careful with weapons on the set of the film "Rust" before the actor shot and killed a cinematographer with a gun he'd been told was safe to use, court records released Sunday show. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A film set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch appears in Santa Fe, N.M., Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. A camera operator told authorities that Alec Baldwin had been careful with weapons on the set of the film "Rust" before the actor shot and killed a cinematographer with a gun he'd been told was safe to use, court records released Sunday show. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A security guard manning the entrance to the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set locks the gate after turning away workers who came to pick up equipment in Santa Fe, N.M., Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. A camera operator told authorities that Alec Baldwin had been careful with weapons on the set of the film "Rust." Baldwin shot and killed a cinematographer with a gun he'd been told was safe to use, court records released Sunday show. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A security guard manning the entrance to the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set locks the gate after turning away workers who came to pick up equipment in Santa Fe, N.M., Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. A camera operator told authorities that Alec Baldwin had been careful with weapons on the set of the film "Rust." Baldwin shot and killed a cinematographer with a gun he'd been told was safe to use, court records released Sunday show. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A worker, who said he came to pick up some equipment, walks toward security guards at the entrance to the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set in Santa Fe, N.M., Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. A camera operator told authorities that Alec Baldwin had been careful with weapons on the set of the film "Rust." Baldwin shot and killed a cinematographer with a gun he'd been told was safe to use, court records released Sunday show. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A worker, who said he came to pick up some equipment, walks toward security guards at the entrance to the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set in Santa Fe, N.M., Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. A camera operator told authorities that Alec Baldwin had been careful with weapons on the set of the film "Rust." Baldwin shot and killed a cinematographer with a gun he'd been told was safe to use, court records released Sunday show. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
This aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Saturday, Oct. 23, 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. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
This aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Saturday, Oct. 23, 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. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
This aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Saturday, Oct. 23, 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. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
This aerial photo shows the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Saturday, Oct. 23, 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. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Two security guards stand next to a worker who came to pick up some equipment from the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. Production of the movie that Alec Baldwin was making when he shot and killed a cinematographer last week has been officially halted, but producers of the Western described the move as "a pause rather than an end." (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Two security guards stand next to a worker who came to pick up some equipment from the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. Production of the movie that Alec Baldwin was making when he shot and killed a cinematographer last week has been officially halted, but producers of the Western described the move as "a pause rather than an end." (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Attendees at a candlelight vigil for the late cinematographer Halyna Hutchins look at an image of her at work, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Burbank, Calif. A prop firearm discharged last Thursday by actor Alec Baldwin, while producing and starring in a Western movie in Santa Fe, N.M., killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Attendees at a candlelight vigil for the late cinematographer Halyna Hutchins look at an image of her at work, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Burbank, Calif. A prop firearm discharged last Thursday by actor Alec Baldwin, while producing and starring in a Western movie in Santa Fe, N.M., killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

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