Speculation of what exactly transpired at Bonanza Creek Ranch that resulted in Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin shooting and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, and injuring the director, is reaching a fever pitch.
According to an opinion piece published by legal scholar Jonathan Turley for Fox News, emerging reports have suggested that there were myriad safety concerns at the set of Rust, a low-budget movie starring Baldwin. Some have even suggested that negligence and shoddy safety practices could have ultimately led to the tragic incident.
There’s an unbelievable amount of details surrounding the shooting that has yet to be pieced together and confirmed, but many have raised the question early on concerning Baldwin’s liability, and Turley believes that the actor could ultimately be held responsible, in theory.
“There is no indication that Baldwin knew that that prop gun was ‘live’ or that he personally loaded the gun,” Turley noted. “To the contrary, recent reports indicate that he was handed the gun by an assistant director who reportedly declared ‘cold gun,’ or a gun with no live ammunition.”
On the surface, that would lead many to speculate that if those accounts are true, Baldwin’s shooting is nothing more than a freak, tragic accident. But what complicates the matter is that Baldwin was also a producer for the movie.
Because of that producer credit, there’s another level of responsibility for which Baldwin is partially responsible, to include firearm safety on the set. That doesn’t bode well for the actor, as reports have suggested that there were previous incidents of discharges and other unsafe firearm practices on the set.
Having said that, Turley seems to think that Baldwin is most likely to face civil issues, such as a wrongful death lawsuit, especially if more information emerges regarding the previous safety concerns on the set of the movie.
“There were as many as three prior accidental discharges of weapons on the set. The conflicts over conditions on the set reportedly led to a demand that union members leave the set at one point,” Turley pointed out.
Only time will tell how and if prosecutors will approach the situation, but it’s safe to say at this point that investigators still need to complete the entire picture of events as they unfolded that day, and what might have led to those dangerous conditions.