PRAIRIE GROVE, Ark. — The assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin the gun that killed a cinematographer was fired from a movie set in Northwest Arkansas in 2019 for a similar incident.
According to the Associated Press, Dave Halls was fired from the production of "Freedom's Path," which was shot entirely in Northwest Arkansas, after a gun went off on set and wounded a film crew member.
A producer for "Freedom's Path" told the AP that Halls was removed from the set following the gun being unexpectedly discharged.
In the past, producers from other film productions have filed complaints about Hall for his "disregard of safety protocols," the AP reports.
The filming of the movie "Rust," the production where a cinematographer was killed, has been suspended until an investigation is completed.
Baldwin has called the killing a "tragic accident." No criminal charges have been filed.
Investigators say Halls handed the weapon to Baldwin and announced "cold gun" before the tragic accident, the AP reports.
Crew safety on sets has been a focus for TV workers in contract negotiations between unions and production studios. A strike involving 60,000 behind-the-scenes workers was avoided at the last moment after an agreement was made to renegotiate unfair contracts that address low wages and excessive hours for film crews.
Dustin Perceful, The Tackle Box in Fort Smith “The number one is to treat all handguns as if they are loaded, regardless of whether you know they’re loaded or been loaded go ahead and treat them as if they are loaded. Number two is always to keep them in a safe direction. These are standard," said Dustin Percful from The Tackle Box in Fort Smith.
Jeff Hahn with the 48 Hour Film Project in Little Rock says this was a rare mistake.
“This is kind of a fluke. Yeah I mean blanks are dangerous but these types of incidents aren’t common if safety precautions and procedures are followed," said Hahn.
Several new questions arise with the recent events in New Mexico with one of them being, is live ammunition even necessary on set anymore?
“In my personal; opinion I don’t even think blanks are necessary on sets anymore we can do everything in post-production. Bullets wounds, shell casings, everything,” Jeff said.
"Freedom’s Path" is a movie set during the Civil War and centers around the story of a young Union soldier who gets injured during a battle and is rescued by a group of runaway slaves.
According to IMDB, Doug Kidd was the lead armorer on the set of "Freedom's Path" and Robert Kroening and Andrew Meeks were additional armorers for the production.
Production companies listed for "Freedom's Path" include Rocket Soul Studios, 1812 Films, Room In The Sky Films and True Productions.
5NEWS is working to uncover more details about Dave Halls's removal from the set of "Freedom's Path" in Prairie Grove. Please check back for updates to this developing story.