A Judge Just Granted A Subpoena In The Investigation Into The Rust Shooting Involving Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin in Motherless Brooklyn
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The accidental shooting involving actor Alec Baldwin on the Rust film set sent shockwaves through the industry. Conversation sparked regarding the use guns on future productions. But the bigger question remains as to what exactly happened that allowed a live round of ammunition to tragically take the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins that day. Well, in the latest update on the situation, a judge has granted a subpoena for a person of interest in the investigation.

Several of the Rust production team have been called into question for their culpability in the shooting. Most notably, the film’s set armorer Hannah Gutierriez-Reed (who was responsible for safe handling of weapons and ammunition during filming) has taken the brunt of the blame from the public. (Her legal team has responded that she “has no idea where the live rounds came from.”) However, the gun also went through the hands of the assistant director before it ended up with Alec Baldwin. Many have asserted that both individuals should have checked before just assuming it was a "cold" weapon.

According to Deadline, assistant director David Halls has been avoiding interview requests from the Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) probe concerning the incident. But it seems he won't be able to any longer because the New Mexico District Court judge granted the state's request for Halls to be subpoenaed. It is expected that he will now sit down with investigators via Zoom on the morning of Tuesday, December 14.

The investigation could potentially lead to someone in Rust’s production being  criminal charges, and that may even include Alec Baldwin himself. The Santa Fe District Attorney involved in the case in fact stated that “all options are on the table,” as officials work to get to the bottom of the shooting.

Initially, after the incident, the Mission: Impossible alum stated that it was a “horrible event” and that the film likely wouldn't be completed. Two crew members have since sued the actor, who's also a producer on the film, for allegedly creating an unsafe work environment. Yet in his recent tell-all interview, the actor insisted that he wanted to get his side of the story out there, which is that he never actually pulled the trigger on the gun. But he also reiterated that he was sorry the tragic circumstances happened at all.

In the wake of the controversy, several productions and leaders have either weighed in or decided to change their on-set protocols. Director George Clooney was emphatic that in a situation like Rust’s, it comes down to the prop person or the armor. Sets like Season 4 for The Rookie have banned live weapons entirely, while actor/producer Dwayne Johnson has committed to using visual effects over real weapons in his future movies.

It's a tragedy that the death of Halyna Hutchins had to be the catalyst for such changes. We here at CinemaBlend will keep you posted regarding what answers the results of the investigation yield.

Lauren Vanderveen
Movies and TV News Writer

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.