9-year-old accidentally kills firing range instructor with Uzi

She pulled the gun’s trigger and the recoil sent the weapon over her head, causing him to be shot

By Lauren Raab
Los Angeles Times

WHITE HILLS, Ariz. — An instructor at a shooting range in Arizona died Monday after a 9-year-old girl accidentally shot him in the head with an Uzi he was showing her how to use, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said.

Charles Vacca, 39, of Lake Havasu City was shot Monday morning, airlifted to a medical center in Las Vegas and pronounced dead shortly before 9 p.m., the sheriff’s office said.

Vacca was working at the Bullets and Burgers outdoor range in White Hills, about 60 miles southeast of Las Vegas, when the accident occurred. The girl and her parents were at the range while on vacation, a sheriff’s spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times.

He was standing next to the girl, instructing her how to use the Uzi, when she pulled the gun’s trigger and the recoil sent the weapon over her head, causing him to be shot, the sheriff’s office said.

“This is a rarity for something like this to happen,” the spokeswoman said.

A video released by the sheriff’s office Tuesday afternoon shows nearly half a minute of the shooting lesson.

Vacca, dressed in a dark shirt and camouflage pants, speaks to a slim girl with earmuffs, braided hair and bright pink shorts.

“We have to keep that held in,” he says, showing her the Uzi in his hands. “Otherwise the gun won’t fire, OK?”

He gives her the weapon and helps her adjust her arms and her stance — “just like that” — and, at his instruction, the girl shoots once at a target. Her shot lands slightly to its left.

“All right!” Vacca cheers.

As he gives further directions, a quick sequence of shots can be heard, and the gun begins tilting up. The video clip ends before he is struck.

In 2008, 8-year-old Christopher Bizilj died in a similar accident at a gun expo in Massachusetts. The boy was firing an Uzi at a pumpkin when the recoil caused him to lose control of the weapon, and he fatally shot himself in the head. 


©2014 the Los Angeles Times

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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