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9yo girl accidentally kills gun instructor in Arizona

Published time: August 27, 2014 14:39
Uzi submachine gun (Reuters/Rick Wilking RTW)

Uzi submachine gun (Reuters/Rick Wilking RTW)

A nine-year-old girl accidentally shot a gun instructor in the head with Uzi automatic gun at a shooting range. The man didn’t survive his injuries and died shortly after being airlifted to a medical center.

The incident happened at the outdoor shooting range in the city of White Hills, Arizona, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office in Mohave County.

The investigators identified the victim as Charles Vacca, 39, of Lake Havasu City, Arizona. At the time of the shooting Vacca was standing next to the girl while he was showing her how to use the weapon.

Then the girl “pulled the trigger on the automatic Uzi, the recoil sent the gun over her head,” said the investigators, adding that Vacca was shot “accidentally” in the head.

He was then airlifted to a University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, but didn’t survive his injuries and was pronounced dead.

The video of the incident was posted on YouTube. The footage shows a young girl beside a man in camouflage pants.

“All right, full auto!” he says when she managed to shoot. Then comes a spray of bullets and at the end one can hear the child’s scream.

“The guy just dropped,” Mohave County Sheriff Jim McCabe told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, adding that no charges would be filed against the shooting range as it is a licensed operation.

Sheriff said that the girl successfully fired the 9mm weapon several times when it was set in the “single-shot” mode. Then the weapon was put into the “fully-automatic” mode which became fatal for the instructor.

The sheriff’s spokeswoman, Trish Carter, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the girl, whose name hasn’t been revealed, was vacationing from New Jersey with her parents.

Ronald Scott, a Phoenix-based firearms safety expert, told AP that most shooting ranges have strict safety rules and age limits, adding that the gun instructors should have their hands on the weapons when the children are shooting.

"You can't give a 9-year-old an Uzi and expect her to control it," Scott said.

Jeff Frichette, director of training for The Range 702 in Las Vegas, said that “hypothetically” a 9-year-old would be able to shoot a fully automatic weapon, but it’s a decision based on physical and safety guidelines.

The children must be “physically and mentally prepared” before they are allowed to shoot a fully automatic weapon, he added.

The Uzi is an Israeli open-bolt, blowback-operated submachine gun designed in the late 1940s. It is used as a personal defense weapon by artillery troops and officers, as well as a frontline weapon by light infantry assault forces.