Girl, 9, shoots instructor dead

Last updated 06:34, August 28 2014
FATAL ACCIDENT: A US shooting instructor has died after being shot in the head by a 9-year-old girl.

FATAL ACCIDENT: A US shooting instructor has died after being shot in the head by a 9-year-old girl.

An instructor at a shooting range in Arizona has died after a nine-year-old girl accidentally shot him in the head with an Uzi sub-machinegun he was showing her how to use, the Mohave County Sheriff's Office said.

Charles Vacca, 39, was shot on Monday morning, flown to a medical centre in Las Vegas and pronounced dead shortly before 9pm, the sheriff's office said.

Mr Vacca was working at the Bullets and Burgers outdoor range in White Hills, about 100 kilometres south-east of Las Vegas, when the accident occurred.

Arizona investigators have released video showing the moments leading up to the fatal shooting of a shooting instructor by a 9 year-old girl.

The girl and her parents were at the range while on holiday, a sheriff's spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times.

He was standing next to the girl, instructing her how to use the Uzi, when she pulled the gun's trigger and the recoil sent the weapon over her head, causing him to be shot, the sheriff's office said.

"This is a rarity for something like this to happen," the spokeswoman said.

A video released by the sheriff's office on Tuesday afternoon shows nearly half a minute of the shooting lesson.

Mr Vacca, dressed in a dark shirt and camouflage pants, speaks to a slim girl with earmuffs, braided hair and bright pink shorts.

"We have to keep that held in," he says, showing her the Uzi in his hands. "Otherwise the gun won't fire, OK?"

He gives her the weapon and helps her adjust her arms and her stance - "just like that" - and, at his instruction, the girl shoots once at a target. Her shot lands slightly to its left.

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"All right!" Mr Vacca cheers.

As he gives further directions, a quick sequence of shots can be heard, and the gun begins tilting up. The video clip ends before he is struck.

In 2008, eight-year-old Christopher Bizilj died in a similar accident at a gun expo in Massachusetts.

The boy was firing an Uzi at a pumpkin when the recoil caused him to lose control of the weapon, and he fatally shot himself in the head. 

Ronald Scott, a firearms safety expert, said most shooting ranges had an age limit and strict safety rules when children were being taught to shoot.

He said instructors usually had their hands on guns when children were firing high-powered weapons.

"You can't give a nine-year-old an Uzi and expect her to control it," he said.

- with McClatchy

 - AP

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