DOLAN SPRINGS, Arizona - A 9-year-old girl accidentally killed an Arizona shooting instructor as he was showing her how to use an automatic Uzi, authorities said.
Charles Vacca, 39, died Aug. 25 shortly after being airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Mohave County sheriff’s officials said Aug. 26.
Vacca was standing next to the girl at the Last Stop outdoor shooting range when she pulled the trigger and the recoil sent the gun over her head, investigators said.
Video released by sheriff’s officials shows the 9-year-old, wearing a gray T-shirt and pink shorts with her hair pulled back in a long braid, holding the firearm in both hands. Vacca, standing to her left, tells her to turn her left leg forward.
“All right, go ahead and give me one shot,” he tells the girl, whose back is to the camera during the entire 27-second video. He then cheers when she fires one round at the target.
“All right full auto,” Vacca says. The video, which does not show the actual incident, ends with a series of shots being heard. Authorities said the girl was at the shooting range with her parents. Her name was not released.
A woman who answered the phone at the shooting range said it had no comment. She did not provide her name. It is not known if the range had an age limit on shooting or if the girl was going through a safety class.
Ronald Scott, a Phoenix-based firearms safety expert, said most shooting ranges have an age limit and strict safety rules when teaching children to shoot. He said instructors usually have their hands on guns when children are firing high-powered weapons.
“You can’t give a 9-year-old an Uzi and expect her to control it,” Scott said.