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(Video Alert) Firing range instructor shot by 9-year-old girl dies


Mohave County Sheriff's officials released this video of shooting instructor Charles Vacca, of Lake Havasu City, moments before he was accidentally shot by a 9-year-old girl he was teaching. Authorities say the girl pulled the trigger and the recoil send the gun over her head. Vacca later died of his injuries.

The incident occurred at the Last Stop shooting outdoor range in White Hills.

This video stops before the actual shooting occurs.

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                                                                    WHITE HILLS, Ariz., Aug. 26 (UPI) -- A firing range instructor is dead after being accidentally shot in the head by a 9-year-old girl Monday.   Charles Vacca, 39, of Lake Havasu City, Arizona worked at Burgers and Bullets, a firing range located about 60 miles southeast of Las Vegas in White Hills, Arizona that caters to tourists, offering guests the opportunity to fire fully automatic weapons and eat big bacon cheeseburgers.

On Monday morning, Vacca was instructing a nine-year-old girl visiting the range with her parents while on a family vacation in the use of an Uzi, a fully automatic 9mm handgun, when the girl lost control of the firearm and accidentally shot Vacca in the head.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Mohave County Sheriff Jim McCabe said the girl had successfully fired the weapon in single-shot mode several times, but when she pulled the gun's trigger in automatic mode, the recoil from several successive shots sent the gun over the girl's head, causing her to accidentally and fatally strike Vacca.

Vacca, immediately airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, was pronounced dead Monday around 9 p.m.

"This is a rarity for something like this to happen," a spokesperson for the Mohave Country Sherrif's Office told the LA Times.

No citations will be issued and no charges will be filed, according to McCabe.

The director of training for The Range 702 in Las Vegas, Jeff Frichette, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that, hypothetically, a 9-year-old could be capable of firing a fully-automatic weapon. The decision on whether it is safe is at the discretion of the range officer and based on physical and safety guidelines which should include a child first mastering smaller-caliber, semi-automatic weapons.


These images show the seconds before a nine-year girl accidentally shot her gun instructor dead on Monday.
Recorded at the Bullets and Burgers shooting range in White Hills, Arizona, the edited 22-second clip plays up to the point where the girl loses control of an Uzi, striking 39-year-old Charles Vacca.

The shocking recording taken by the girl's parents and released by police shows Vacca standing closely next to the girl when the gun recoiled as she fired on full automatic mode.

As the clip unfolds, Vacca is seen to instruct the girl to hold the weapon with two hands at all times and to take a perpendicular stance to the target.

Then Vacca asks her to fire one shot for him, which she does.

Then, Vacca tells the girl to adjust her stance and squeeze the trigger to let off a volley, but something goes wrong when she fires a second time.

His last words to the girl are: 'Alright, full auto.'

The girl loses her two-handed grip on the weapon and it pulls to her left, striking Vacca in the head.

Charles Vacca, a father and veteran from Lake Havasu City, Arizona, was airlifted to hospital on Monday morning after the little girl shot him but died that evening.

Mohave County Sheriff Jim McCabe said the full video of the incident was 'ghastly'.

He said that the girl had successfully fired the weapon several times before when it was set on 'single shot' mode.

However, the accident unfolded in a split second when the Israeli made weapon was set to 'full-automatic mode' and caused Vacca his fatal injuries.

'The guy just dropped,' McCabe said of Vacca, who suffered more than one gunshot to the head.

McCabe told the Las Vegas Review Journal that no charges will be filed because Bullets and Burgers is licensed and legal as an operation.

'It's so easy for us to go back and look at something that's very tragic and say, 'Boy! Why did that occur? That should not have happened because of,'' said McCabe to Fox News.

'Well, maybe from now on, that 'because of' will be in place.'

A spokeswoman with Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said they were shocked by the shooting.

'This is a rarity for something like this to happen,' the spokeswoman said to the LA Times.

Vacca was airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he died of his injuries around 9pm on Monday. An autopsy will now be carried out.

The nine-year-old girl, who has not been identified, was not injured. She was with her parents as they passed through the area on vacation from New Jersey.

The range operator at Bullets and Burgers told KLAS-TV he was shocked by the incident.

'We really don't know what happened. Our guys are trained to basically hover over people when they're shooting. 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,' operator Sam Scarmardo said.

Social media was incredulous about the tragic accident, with most people posting comments as to why a nine-year-old was allowed to fire an automatic weapon.

Liz Matthews of the John Clayton Show on 710 ESPN in Seattle said, 'A story involving a nine-year-old shooting an UZI at a place called Burgers and Bullets would have been appalling enough. Horrifying.'

Nikki Bateman simply asked, 'why you'd even let a nine year old handle a gun in the first place?!'

Cameron Atfield directed his anger at the parents stating he 'hoped the parents are charged.'

Friends paid tribute to Vacca, an army veteran and a married father, as a great friend and soldier on Facebook. Best friend Robert Vera said they often laughed so much that they couldn't breathe.

'He became a brother and a major part of my life through thick and thin,' Vera said. 'Rest In Peace brother.'

Another friend added: 'A Soldier, a father, a mentor and a friend. SSG Charles Vacca will always be remembered with a smile and admiration.'

The incident occurred at the Arizona Last Stop, which is about 25 miles south of Las Vegas, the Mohave County Sheriff's Office told AZFamily. It is home to a shooting range, Bullets and Burgers.

'Our guests have the opportunity to fire a wide range of fully automatic machine guns and specialty weapons,' its website states. 'At our range, you can shoot FULL auto on our machine guns. Let 'em Rip!'

Bullets and Burgers would not comment on the incident and referred questions to a nearby gun emporium, but would not say whether or not they were affiliated.

Arizona gun laws require a person to be at least 18 years old to carry a firearm, but the laws do not apply on private property or if the minor is accompanied by a parent or a certified instructor.

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