Little girl kills gun instructor

PHOENIX –– A nine-year-old girl learning to fire a submachine gun accidentally killed her instructor at a shooting range when the weapon recoiled over her shoulder, according to Arizona authorities.

The instructor, 39-year-old Charles Vacca, died at a hospital late Monday night after he was shot in the head.

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said the girl was with her parents. The three reside in New Jersey. The website of Bullets And Burgers, the shooting range where the accident happened, says children between the ages of eight and 17 can shoot a weapon if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Police identified the weapon as an Uzi, an Israeli-made submachine gun.

Representatives of the gun range declined CNN requests for comment on the incident today. But Sam Scarmardo, who operates Bullets And Burgers, told CNN affiliate KLAS yesterday they “really don’t know what happened”.

“Our guys are trained to basically hover over people when they’re shooting,” Scarmardo said. “If they’re shooting right-handed, we have our right-hand behind them ready to push the weapon out of the way. And if they’re left-handed, the same thing.”

The investigation into the shooting has been completed and no charges were pending, according to the sheriff’s department.

Authorities said the death was being handled as an industrial accident, with the Occupational Safety And Health Administration investigating. The Federal Bureau Of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms And Explosives also was notified.

An autopsy on Vacca was completed but the cause and manner of death were pending, according to Colleen Pitre, a representative of the Medical Examiner’s Office. She would not say how many times Vacca was shot.

It wasn’t the first fatal accident involving a child and an Uzi. In 2008, an eight-year-old boy in Massachusetts accidentally shot himself with a micro Uzi during a gun show.

A pair of gun experts contacted by CNN today said it was preferable to teach young children to shoot with single-shot firearms rather than submachine guns, but added that some Uzi submachine guns could be modified to control the powerful recoil. The supervision and experience of instructors is crucial.

“It’s always the supervision,” said Greg Danas, president of Massachusetts-based G&G Firearms. “But you also have gun enthusiasts running businesses where they place firearms in the hands of the uninformed, whether they’re nine-year-old kids who are not capable, or adults. It all stems from gun enthusiasts running businesses that require a level of professionalism and education. The unexpected with firearms is something that’s only learned through years of being a trainer, not a gun enthusiast.”

Danas questioned why the instructor in Arizona was standing immediately to the left of the Uzi, which would have recoiled in that direction.

“It’s an awful shame,” he said. “He shouldn’t have been to the left side of the gun . . . . But that child should not have been shooting anything other than a single-shot firearm.”

Danas, whose daughters are 11 and 13, said his girls learned to shoot when they were four-years-old, with a single-shot, .22-caliber pistol.

Steven Howard, a Michigan-based gun expert who runs American Firearms & Munitions Consulting, said it was difficult to comment based on the limited information available about the Arizona shooting, but added that the clip on the submachine gun should not hold more than three rounds during instruction.

“Teaching people machine gun 101, even with adults, even with people going through military training, the first few times they shoot machine guns you don’t have them shoot a full freaking clip,” he said. “The thing begins to fire and it begins to jump and buck all over the place. Your first human instinct is for your hands to clamp down, and you clamp down on the trigger and if the thing has a 32-round magazine . . . it starts spraying all over and people get killed.”

But he said some submachine guns can be used to train children.

“It can be done under the right circumstances,” Howard said. “There are some machine guns that I could have trained my eight-year-old on.”



Source: (CNN)

14 Responses to Little girl kills gun instructor

  1. Cherylann Bourne-Hayes
    Cherylann Bourne-Hayes August 27, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Dumb people.

  2. Adrian M Chase
    Adrian M Chase August 27, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Slow news day eh?

  3. Justin Moore
    Justin Moore August 27, 2014 at 8:05 pm


  4. Cherylann Bourne-Hayes
    Cherylann Bourne-Hayes August 27, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    The instructor should have said no. So tired of irresponsible people who think it is not their business.

  5. Dick Forde
    Dick Forde August 27, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Stupid news

  6. Greitcha Smith
    Greitcha Smith August 27, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Very sad. So nine year old girls don’t play with dolls and go to ballet classes anymore?

  7. Claire Battershield
    Claire Battershield August 27, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Good for him

  8. Frederick Alleyne
    Frederick Alleyne August 27, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    How about teaching her to read? Ass.

  9. Sanderson Rowe August 27, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    As an ex Soldier I find it strange that on her first lesson (the family was visiting from out of state) that a qualified arms instructor would have allowed a child that young to fire a weapon, and on automatic to boot. In both Armies which I served, I had to spend a number of days leaning the mechanics of the weapon before I was allowed to fire it. Unlike a rifle short weapons are extremely dangerous in the hands of a novice, as the muzzle turning radius is quite short. A weapon like an UZI should have never been put into the hands of a frail young girl.

  10. Hermena Straker
    Hermena Straker August 27, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    She in had no right with that gun she is 2 young that man lost his life foolishly

  11. Matthew Furby Dan Spooner
    Matthew Furby Dan Spooner August 27, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    american children been learning for yrs clearly yall dont watch preppers on nat geo but still a sad story

  12. Kerry-Ann Wilson
    Kerry-Ann Wilson August 28, 2014 at 1:16 am

    No but seriously!!!!!! On which planet will I take my child under 18 to learn how to shoot a gun?? And a machine gun no less. Oh that’s right they were giving her practice fuh wen some kids or teachers piss her off in school. smdh

  13. Kerry-Ann Wilson
    Kerry-Ann Wilson August 28, 2014 at 1:18 am

    Man look I can’t wid America sometimes. That whole “right to bear arms” crap want revising too


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