9-Year-Old Accidentally Shoots, Kills Gun Instructor With Uzi


UPDATED: Wednesday August 27, 2014 3:09 PM

CBS NEWS - A 39-year-old shooting instructor accidentally shot by one of his 9-year-old students Monday morning has died, according to the Mohave County Sheriff's Office.

He has been identified as Charles Vacca, of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, reports CBS Las Vegas affiliate KLAS-TV.

The sheriff's office released video of the moments before the accident. It does not show the shooting but is, says KLAS, a key piece of evidence.

Play VIDEO - Nine-year-old accidentally kills gun instructor

The incident occurred at the Bullets and Burgers gun range in Dolan Springs, Arizona, which is some 78 miles southeast of Las Vegas.

The 9-year-old girl is seen holding an Uzi with Vacca standing beside her, showing her how to hold the weapon.

"Vacca was standing next to the girl while he was instructing her how to use to weapon when the accident happened. Further investigations determined the girl pulled the trigger on the automatic Uzi, the recoil sent the gun over her head and the victim was shot," a statement from the sheriff's office says.

The girl's parents were with her when the shooting occurred, the statement said.

The range operator told KLAS they'd never had any type of incident at the Dolan Springs location, or at their Lake Havasu range, which has been open for 12 years.

He said safety is always stressed with each and every client.

"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.

The staff is grieving, but they're also remembering the man who lost his life. Vacca is described as well-liked, a veteran, and loving husband.

Vacca was airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, where he died Monday evening.

In Nevada and Arizona, it is up to the gun range to allow a particular minor to fire a gun.

Investigators say no laws were broken. But the Bullets and Burgers range has already changed its procedures after this tragic accident: Participants will now have to be at least 5 feet tall or 12 years or older to shoot.

People at the range not only are thinking of their fallen friend, but also about the 9-year-old, KLAS says.

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