Alec Baldwin, who recently shot and killed one person and injured another after firing a prop gun on the set of his upcoming movie, Rust, is reportedly being questioned about the incident by authorities.
According to Fox News, Baldwin, a staunch anti-gun activist outside of his Hollywood career, is reportedly “fully cooperating” with the investigation, however, some outside attorneys have already weighed in on the developing case, suggesting that it’s not entirely impossible that Baldwin eventually faces some level of charges in the tragic incident.
“He needs to start thinking like a potential defendant instead of just somebody who made a tragic mistake,” said Andrew Stoltmann, a Chicago-based attorney.
The attorney added: “There are crimes that cover this sort of situation depending on his level of culpability.”
Stoltmann went on to say that the evolving situation is still too early in the process, but added that negligent homicide would likely be the law that would cover such a situation. The attorney was careful to say that it doesn’t mean Baldwin will for sure be charged.
“There are literally about a hundred different issues that would need to be resolved, but there is something called negligent homicide,” Stoltmann said.
He added: “I’m certainly not saying he’s going to be charged, but what I am saying is anytime somebody shoots another human being – even on accident, even in self-defense – the police and eventually prosecutors look very, very carefully at what happened.”
Other attorneys have a different view on the case, given what’s currently known, including Christopher Melcher, who seemed to lean toward the prop team on the movie set bearing a bulk of the responsibility for the incident.
“The prop master would know that this is dangerous and would have to take extreme precautions to make sure that the gun was handled correctly, that the actor was instructed how to use it, to verify that there weren’t bullets in the gun,” Melcher said.
Details are everything
Attorneys continue to debate whether or not Baldwin bears responsibility in the shooting, but as Melcher continued to point out, it all depends on what the investigation uncovers as far as the exact process in which Baldwin was handed the firearm, and what he was instructed to do.
If the actor used the gun as instructed, Melcher noted that he’s likely not in any trouble. But minor details like whether or not he was “playing” with the firearm or failed to verify that the firearm wasn’t loaded could land him in criminal trouble.
Only time will tell how the case unfolds and what the investigation finds, but at the very least, the incident will likely radically change the way firearms are used in movie productions down the road.