Piers Morgan says Alec Baldwin ‘should have ensured he knew gun was safe’ before shooting

Alec Baldwin shooting: Aerial view of film set after police cordon off

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Alec Baldwin was reportedly told that a loaded gun was safe to use when on set of new film Rust in New Mexico last week. The 63-year-old, who is also the executive producer of the film, accidentally shot Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza after discharging what he believed was a prop weapon.

Cinematographer Halyna was later pronounced dead in hospital, while Joel is recovering from his injury.

Taking to Twitter last week, Alec wrote: “There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours.

“I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family.

“My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”

In his latest column, Piers Morgan has questioned Alec’s depiction of the shooting being a “tragic accident”.

The 56-year-old began by recalling an interview he did with the actor about gun safety in America a few years back.

Speaking to CNN, the actor once said: “I’m in favour of people owning guns but I’m in favour of there being the most arduous process for them to qualify to own that gun.”

He also called for citizens who wanted to own a gun to undergo a “proper background check”.

Piers said Alec had bruised and battered knuckles from an injury on set at the time of their chat.

Expressing his initial reaction to the shooting, the journalist wrote in his Mail Online column: “It seemed barely believable that a star of his experience and stature could do something so lethally stupid as to fire a loaded gun towards co-workers, especially given his advocacy of gun safety and awareness of hazardous movie sets.

“But it quickly became clear that Baldwin didn’t realize the gun had real ammunition inside it.”

The actor is said to have been practicing his cross fire with the gun as he faced the camera and crew on Thursday.

He had reportedly been told that it was a “cold gun”, a term used on movie sets meaning it’s unloaded.

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Piers added: “So, just a terrible accident – right?

“Well, yes in the sense that Baldwin obviously believed the gun wasn’t loaded.

“But that doesn’t mean, from what we have now learned, that he should have automatically believed that, nor that he is absolved from any managerial responsibility for events leading up to the shooting.”

Piers went on to say that somebody must’ve known that the gun was loaded and queried why “cold gun” was said if it was uncertain.

He went on to mention that sources on Rust told the LA Times that “vital safety protocols, including regular gun inspections, were not strictly followed”.

It’s also been reported that at least two other accidental gun discharges occurred on the set on October 16, a week before the shooting.

He added: “Why did Alec Baldwin not insist on being shown the gun was safe? Why did he point it directly at his co-workers, if that is strictly prohibited?

“Alec must have known about the gun discharge incidents, and crew concerns over the armorer’s inexperience and the assistant director’s record of dangerous on-set safety misconduct, because he wasn’t just a jobbing actor on the movie – he was a named Executive Producer.

“So, if he didn’t know, he should have ensured he knew.”

Piers added: “I don’t doubt the sincerity of his sadness at the shooting, nor that he had no idea the gun he fired was loaded.

“But what I do now doubt is Alec Baldwin’s depiction of it as a ‘tragic accident’.

“Given what we have discovered about the circumstances leading up to the moment he pulled the trigger, this was an accident waiting to happen.”

An investigation is still ongoing.

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