US girl in accidental killing said Uzi was too much for her
PHOENIX—A 9-year-old girl who accidentally killed a shooting range instructor with an Uzi had said immediately after the shooting that she felt the gun was too much for her and had hurt her shoulder, according to police reports released Tuesday.
Her family members were focused on the girl because they thought she was injured by the gun’s recoil and didn’t immediately realize instructor Charles Vacca had been shot until one of his colleagues ran over.
The shooting sparked intense debate over whether it was appropriate for the girl’s parents to let her handle such a powerful weapon. Kids going on hunts with their elders is a rite of passage in rural America, but critics questioned the purpose of training a child to shoot an Uzi.
The family, whose hometown hasn’t been revealed by investigators, had taken a shuttle on Aug. 25 from Las Vegas south to the Last Stop range in White Hills, Arizona. Once arriving there, the girl, her parents, sister and brother took a monster truck ride before heading out to the shooting range.
The girl’s father was the first one in the party to handle a weapon. After the father fired shots, Vacca showed the girl how to shoot the gun, showed her a shooting stance and helped her fire off a few rounds.
Then, he stepped back and let her hold the Uzi by herself. She fired the gun, and its recoil wrenched the Uzi upward, killing Vacca with a shot to the head, according to the report.
The girl dropped the Uzi, and Vacca fell to the ground.
At first, the family focused on the girl, who was holding her shoulder. Another instructor rushed over to help to Vacca. The other children were then taken away from the range, according to the report.
Prosecutors are not filing charges in the case.
County prosecutors say the instructor was probably the most criminally negligent person involved in the accident for having allowed the child to hold the gun without enough training. They also said the parents and child weren’t criminally culpable.–Jacques Billeaud
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