The girl's family also did not realize right away that the
instructor, 39-year-old Charles Vacca, had been struck by a round
from the gun, according to the Mohave County Sheriff's Office
Vacca had been showing the girl how to fire an Uzi at the Arizona
Last Stop gun range in White Hills last week when the recoil caused
her to lose control of the high-powered weapon, the sheriff's office
Vacca was struck by at least one bullet and later died, in an
accident that touched off debate over the wisdom of giving children
access to high-powered firearms, even in a controlled setting such
as a gun range.
The sheriff's office has said no criminal charges were pending after
what it called an "industrial accident." State occupational health
and safety officials have opened their own investigation.
The girl's mother told officers that immediately following the
shooting, her daughter "turned to her (and) told her the gun was too
much for her and hurt her shoulder," the report said.
"(The mother) said no one knew Vacca was shot until the other
instructor ran over," an officer wrote.
Another officer, citing another instructor at the range, said that
when the girl fired the weapon, it went "straight up in the air."
Vacca fell to his left toward a table, blood pouring from the wound.
When officers arrived, they found Vacca on the ground still
breathing and moaning as another man applied a towel to his head.
Blood covered a folding table next to him.
The girl's family issued a statement through an attorney on Tuesday
expressing "sadness" for Vacca's death.
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"Although certain people will seek to use this tragedy for their own
partisan purposes and agendas, the family asks all compassionate
Americans to pray for their children and the entire Vacca family,"
the statement said in part.
A video clip of the moments leading up to the shooting, released by
the sheriff's office shows Vacca giving a girl in pink shorts
hands-on instruction as she aims the Uzi at a target.
He is heard encouraging the girl and asking her to fire one shot
before telling her: "All right, full auto." The weapon then
unleashes multiple rounds as the video cuts off. It was apparently
moments later that Vacca was shot.
The Last Stop is a tourist hub that includes a restaurant, bar, RV
park and general store and is decorated with paintings of firearms,
faux bullet holes and crosshairs and a mural depicting a gun-toting
Sylvester Stallone in the film "Rambo."
It lists the minimum age as 8.
The family had been visiting Last Stop from Las Vegas and had taken
a ride on a "monster truck" before trying the shooting range, the
(Reporting by David Schwartz and Dan Whitcomb; Writing by Dan
Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney)
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