Uzi death girl felt the weapon was 'too much for her' police reveal

First complaint was about her shoulder as family didn't realise instructor was dead

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 September, 2014, 10:57pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 September, 2014, 10:57pm


A girl, aged nibe, who accidentally killed an instructor with an Uzi sub-machine gun at a shooting range, said immediately after the incident that she felt the gun was too much for her and had hurt her shoulder, according to police reports.

Her family members were focused on the girl because they thought she was injured by the gun's recoil and didn't realise instructor Charles Vacca had been shot in the head until one of his colleagues ran over to him.

The shooting set off debate over youngsters and guns. Children going on hunts with their elders is a rite of passage in rural America, but many people wondered what sort of parents would let a child handle a sub-machine gun.

The family, whose hometown has not been revealed by investigators, had taken a bus on August 25 from Las Vegas to the Last Stop range in White Hills, Arizona.

Kevin Walsh, a Newark, New Jersey, lawyer representing the family, said on Tuesday that the girl's relatives prayed that Vacca would survive his injuries and now pray for his family.

"They are devastated by this accident that turned what was supposed to be a unique and brief excursion from their summer vacation into a life-changing tragedy. They are dealing with this privately as a family. They wish to thank the emergency first responders who tried heroically to save the life of Mr Vacca, a military veteran who they were told served honourably overseas to defend America," Walsh said.

At the shooting range, the girl's father was the first of the party to handle a weapon. After he fired shots, Vacca instructed the girl on how to shoot the gun, showed her a shooting stance, and helped her fire a few rounds.

Then, he stepped back and let her hold the Uzi by herself. She fired the gun, and the recoil wrenched the weapon upward, killing Vacca with a shot to the head, according to the report.

The girl dropped the Uzi, and Vacca fell to the ground. The girl ran towards her family, who huddled around her as she held her shoulder. Another instructor rushed over to help Vacca. The children were then taken away from the range.

Prosecutors are not filing charges in the case, but Arizona's workplace safety agency is investigating the shooting.

County prosecutors say the instructor probably was the most criminally negligent person involved in the accident for having allowed the child to hold the gun without enough training. They said the parents and child were not criminally culpable.

Vacca's ex-wife and children said last week that they had no ill feelings towards the girl or her family, but felt sorry for her.