US & Canada

No charges in accidental gun range shooting

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionVideo released by the Mojave County Sheriff's Department shows Charles Vacca teaching the nine-year-old shortly before the accident happened

Officials say there will be no charges after an incident in which a nine-year-old girl fatally shot a gun instructor.

The death of Charles Vacca, 39, was "being viewed as an industrial accident," Mohave County Sheriff's office said in a statement.

Vacca was giving the girl a lesson at an Arizona shooting range when the recoil from a firearm caused her to lose control of the Uzi submachine gun.

He died after being airlifted to a hospital in Las Vegas.

The girl was at the shooting range with her parents, who filmed the lesson.

The footage shows the instructor coaching her as she fires a single shot at a target at the Last Stop shooting range in White Hills, Arizona.

The Uzi then appears to be switched to automatic as the girl pulls the trigger and loses her grip of the weapon.

The video, edited and released by the Mojave County Sheriff's office, ends abruptly before the instructor is shot.

Image copyright Thinkstock

Children and guns by the numbers:

  • 18: The number of people age 24 and younger killed by firearms in the US each day
  • 55: The percentage of US homes with children and firearms in which one or more weapons are kept in an unlocked place
  • 1.6: The number, in millions, of children 18 and under who are estimated to be living in homes with loaded and unlocked firearms
  • 72: The percentage of parents who say they have spoken with their children about the hazards of guns

Source: Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, ABC News

Guns a part of American childhood

The unnamed girl and her family were on a visit to Arizona from New Jersey.

A spokeswoman for the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health confirmed that the agency was also investigating the shooting, but would give no further details.

The website of the shooting range, called Bullets and Burgers, says children aged eight and older can shoot a weapon if they are accompanied by a parent and an instructor.

Range operator Sam Scarmardo told the Associated Press news agency the facility had not had an accident in the 12 years it has been open.

"We really don't know what happened. Our guys are trained to basically hover over people when they're shooting," he told a local broadcaster.

"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."

A similar incident in 2008 killed an eight-year-old boy who accidentally shot himself in the head during a gun expo in Massachusetts.

Image copyright AFP


  • Submachine gun designed in 1950s for Israel's army
  • Exported to many countries and used in many conflicts
  • Capable of automatic or semi-automatic fire
  • Standard rate of fire 600 rounds per minute

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites