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Former assistant director David Halls at the Santa Fe trial

Photo: Gabriela Campos / AP

In an emotional testimony, former assistant director David Halls described how camerawoman Halyna Hutchins was killed by a gunshot during a rehearsal on the set of the western "Rust."

Halls testified on Thursday (local time) in the ongoing criminal trial against weapons master Hannah Gutierrez-Reed in Santa Fe, New Mexico, who is accused of negligent homicide.

Halls said he was standing very close to Hutchins when protagonist Alec Baldwin operated the gun.

He rushed to the camerawoman lying on the ground and asked her how she was feeling.

She said she could no longer feel her legs, Halls said through tears.

Negligent handling of weapons in the past

The 42-year-old was fatally injured in the incident in October 2021 at Bonanza Creek Ranch.

Director Joel Souza was hit in the shoulder by the same bullet when the shot went off from a prop gun.

Halls, who was responsible for security during the shooting, was charged last year with negligent handling of a weapon.

He admitted his guilt at the time and received a suspended sentence.

Gutierrez-Reed has been in court since last week and could receive prison time if found guilty.

A manslaughter trial against Baldwin is scheduled for July.

Weapon not checked carefully

Halls testified that he did not carefully inspect the gun that Gutierrez-Reed had previously loaded.

He is acting here as a witness because he wants the truth to come to light so that something like this never happens again during filming.

One of the key questions in the trial is how the live ammunition ended up on the set.

In addition to blank cartridges and so-called dummy cartridges, the investigators also found real cartridges.

One of them got into the revolver cylinder while loading.

The trial against Gutierrez-Reed opened with heavy accusations, including against Baldwin.

The defendant ignored the most important safety precautions and caused the death of the camerawoman with her careless behavior, said prosecutor Jason Lewis in his opening statement.

Gutierrez-Reed's lawyer Jason Bowles, on the other hand, accused the main actor and producer Baldwin and other participants in the "Rust" production of gross errors in the handling of weapons.

The producers ignored precautionary measures in order to make quick money.

His young client now has to serve as a “scapegoat” for the mistakes of others.