A 9-year-old girl from New Jersey accidentally shot and killed her instructor with an Uzi submachine gun while he stood to her side at an Arizona shooting range.
The shooting happened at 10 a.m. Monday at the Arizona Last Stop tourist recreational complex located about 25 miles south of Las Vegas, whose advertising beckons visitors to stop in, fire a machine gun and enjoy a meal at the Bullets and Burgers.
The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said the accidental shooting occurred about 10 a.m. Spokeswoman Trish Carter said the girl, who was vacationing from New Jersey with her parents, was standing next to the instructor at the time.
Mohave County Sheriff Jim McCabe said the girl successfully fired the 9 mm weapon several times in the “single-shot” mode but when it was set to “fully-automatic” the weapon recoiled, drifted above her head and discharged at least one gunshot to the head of shooting instructor Charles Vacca.
“The guy just dropped,” McCabe said Vacca, 39, who died Monday night at University Medical Center in Las Vegas.
Dan Roberts told the South Jersey Times that his daughter Shyanne — a competitive shooter from Gloucester County who turns 10 on Thursday — was not the girl who killed the Arizona firearms instructor.
Sam Scarmardo, a former Lake Havasu City Council member who operates the shooting range, said the girl’s parents signed waivers saying they understood the rules of the range and were standing nearby, video-recording their daughter, when the incident happened.
“I have regret we let this child shoot, and I have regret that Charlie was killed,” said Scarmardo, a candidate for District 5 of the Arizona State Senate who was defeated in the Republican primary on August 28, 2012.
The girl, in a gray T-shirt, pink shorts and her hair in a braid, can be seen in the video being advised to adjust her feet. “All right, go ahead and give me one shot,” Vacca is heard telling her.
The instructor praises the girl for the shot and then tells her, “All right full auto.”
Authorities have not identified the shooter.
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