'Rust' Assistant Director Breaks Silence About On-Set Shooting

Following the fatal shooting on the set of the movie Rust, the film's assistant director has broken his silence about the tragedy that claimed the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. In a statement obtained by the New York Post, Dave Halls — the assistant director on Rust — spoke fondly of Hutchins, saying that she "was not just one of the most talented people I've worked with, but also a friend." Halls added, "I'm shocked and saddened by her death. It's my hope that this tragedy prompts the industry to reevaluate its values and practices to ensure no one is harmed through the creative process again."

Hutchins was killed on the set of Rust on Oct. 21, after actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun that was initially not believed to be loaded with live rounds. In addition to Hutchins' death, the incident also wounded the film's director, Joel Souza. Notably, Halls' statement doesn't really shed any new light on exactly what happened leading up to the shooting, which came after he announced to the set that the firearm was a "cold gun" and then handed it to Baldwin, per an affidavit that was previously obtained by PEOPLE. The outlet also reported that a recently updated search warrant indicated Halls told the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office that, ahead of the incident, on-set gun safety protocols had not been taken as seriously as they should have.

In a statement on the tragic situation, Rust Movie Productions LLC said, "The entire cast and crew has been absolutely devastated by today's tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Halyna's family and loved ones." The statement added, "We have halted production on the film for an undetermined period of time and are fully cooperating with the Santa Fe Police Department's investigation. We will be providing counseling services to everyone connected to the film as we work to process this awful event."

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Following the incident, Baldwin released a statement on Twitter, and more recently he spoke to a group of photographers who were inquiring about the incident. "A woman died," he told the group, per Deadline. "She was my friend. She was my friend. The day I arrived in Santa Fe to start shooting, I took her to dinner with Joel, the director. We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together and then this horrible event happened." The shooting on the set of Rust is still under investigation, and no charges have been filed.