Nancy Grace Weighs in on 'Rust' Shooting and Possible Charges That Could Arise (Exclusive)

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Nancy Grace is weighing in on the tragic fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film Rust last week. 

The legal commentator spoke with ET about the latest developments in the investigation, and explained why this case may take a long time to truly understand and to possibly bring to court.

"The Sante Fe County District Attorney has indicated that this is a very complex case," the host of America’s Most Wanted Overtime on FOX Nation told ET. "The complexity of this case revolves around the ballistics, the number of ballistics, ammunition, rounds, blanks, prop guns, legit real operational guns lying around on the set, compounded with so many witnesses."

"Every crew member, sound person, cinematographer, the caterer, you name it are going to be witnesses in this case," Grace continued. "Whether they were inside the church set or outside of it and may have heard the gunshot."

On Thursday, Alec Baldwin discharged a gun that was being used as a prop on the set of his movie, Rust, which led to the death of Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza, who has since been released from the hospital. 

According to an affidavit filed by the Santa Fe County’s Sheriff’s Office obtained by ET, Baldwin was told by assistant director Dave Halls, who handed him the gun, that it was safe to shoot, and he did not know the gun was loaded with live rounds. It's unclear how many rounds were fired.

"This is not a whodunit. We know whodunit -- Alec Baldwin. But was it his fault?" Grace said. "I believe the investigation is going to focus on who handed him the weapon, who put the ammo, the bullet in the gun, and why did Halls reportedly call out 'cold gun' on the set, which means it's safe?"

One persistent question that has been raised by many is why live ammo would have even been present on set in the first place.

According to a report from The Wrap, crew members on the film allegedly used the gun for target practice, shooting beer cans with real ammunition, to pass time on set. This could potentially explain how a real bullet got confused for a fake and remained in the gun.

Grace said that having live ammo on set is "unheard of" on nearly any professional production.

"That is why there are so many layers of precaution for movies of this genre -- a western with a lot of guns, a lot of ammo and shoot outs," she shared. "You have to be careful."

"To the naked eye, a live round, a bullet, is easily discernible from a blank. There really is no mistaking a live round, a bullet, from a blank," Grace said. "So who put a live round in a gun used for a scene? There will be a lot of questions as to how this happened."

As for the possibility of criminal charges or civil lawsuits that may arise following the investigation, Grace shared her opinion on what could potentially occur.

"[Baldwin] obviously did not intend to shoot a live round or to kill her. I think the most he can be charged with is a negligent homicide -- and yes, that is a possibility because he did not check the gun before he fired," Grace said. "But a jury would be asked should he [have checked], or should he rely on the assistant director that hands him the gun, who should also be checking for safety."

For this reason, Grace noted investigators will be looking very closely at Halls and at the film's 24-year-old armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was responsible for handling and maintaining the weapons on set.

Earlier this week, ET spoke with firearms expert Steve Wolf, who provided insight into how an incident like this could occur.

Wolf states that, in his professional opinion, "It was improper for them to have guns on set that were capable of firing live ammo."

"Don't bring guns on the set that you can put bullets into. Don't have live ammo on the set," Wolf said. "And most importantly don't point a gun at someone that doesn't pose a threat to you."

Ultimately, Wolf felt, "There's really no reason to use real, unmodified firearms on set."

Wolf also said that the gun that was discharged and led to the fatal shooting should never have been handed to Baldwin by the assistant director in the first place.

"Only the armorer or the prop master should ever hand the weapon to anyone on set because that person is responsible for knowing the condition of the gun, verifying it themselves, and then passing both the gun and that knowledge to the next person who should then also open the gun, validate what they’ve been told before they close the gun and use it in the scene," Wolf said. "The procedures by which one can safely handle firearms on set are well known and well established... But it doesn’t matter how many rules you have if you don't have the knowledge and experience to follow them.

Wolf also said that past complaints against crew members who were key to safety protocols on set should have been an indicator not to hire them for such a potentially hazardous production.

"The fact that someone had safety red flags is absolutely a reason to pass on them," Wolf stated.

See the video below to hear more.

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