WATCH: Video shows 9-year-old firing Uzi seconds before accidentally shooting instructor

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DOLAN SPRINGS, Ariz. -- A 9-year-old girl learning to fire a submachine gun accidentally killed her instructor at a shooting range when the weapon recoiled over her shoulder, according to Arizona authorities.

The instructor, 39-year-old Charles Vacca, died at a hospital late Monday night after he was shot in the head.

The Mohave County Sheriff's Office said the girl was with her parents. The website of Bullets and Burgers, the shooting range where the accident happened, says children between the ages of 8 and 17 can shoot a weapon if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Police identified the weapon as an Uzi, an Israeli-made submachine gun.

Cellphone video released by authorities Tuesday shows the moments before the fatal shots were fired, KLAS reported.

In the video, Vacca and the girl are at an outdoor range. The wind blows a target in the distance. Vacca shows the child how to hold the gun then helps her establish her grip and her stance. She fires one round and dirt flies above the target. Vacca adjusts the Uzi, places his right hand on her back and his left under her right arm.

She fires several rounds in rapid succession and the gun kicks to the left as she loses control. The video ends before the fatal head shot. In releasing the video, authorities did not identify who made it.

KLAS reported the girl was a tourist from the Northeast.

The station spoke with Sam Scarmardo, who operates Bullets and Burgers, about the incident.

"We really don't know what happened," he said. "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."

Vacca was married, well-liked and a veteran, KLAS said.

The range, which is about an hour's drive from Las Vegas, says on its Facebook page: "We separate ourselves from all other Las Vegas ranges with our unique 'Desert Storm' atmosphere and military style bunkers."

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10 comments

  • RMS

    You know what? This was a tragic accident. If this was the little girl’s first ever time to shoot a firearm, especially a full auto, then it was the instructor’s fault. Otherwise, it was just an unfortunate tragic accident.
    Hey! How about them little kids in the middle east caught on video, giving an oath to die in the fight against the “infidels”? Yeah. some of them pack AKs.
    Huh? What do you mean that’s not a PC question?

    • DC

      @RMS You have shown your ignorance. Your comment is neither funny nor clever.
      That little girls parents were irresponsible and as for the instructor who was meant to be a trained, knowledgable professional, where was that knowledge and professionalism…he would of known that the physical stature of that child(especially one who has never used a weapon before)would be unable to control a submachine gun so why did he switch it over. Common sense did not prevail in the parents or instructor.
      Now leading on to your comment about children in the Middle East caught on video as you put it giving an oath to die against the “infidels”. The difference here is those children are orphans. Their parents are not the ones who have not recruited them into that – whereas that little girl was on holiday with her parents right there videoing their child. The children in war torn lands are always, always without a doubt traumatised, scared, confused orphans who have just seen their parents murdered with their limbs torn apart. These vulnerable, mentally disturbed kids have just lost the people who mean everything to them and for what. They are taken advantage of because when you are a child all you want to do is stick up for your parents so that’s why they are easily manipulated into these terrible situations.
      So next time you think you want to say something that’s funny and clever stop and think beforehand or do some research because it really is obvious you are quite dumb!

      • wow

        @DC “always, always… confused orphans…” really? I have seen interviews of parents after suicide attacks where they praise their brave children. No, DC, not always. And btw, saying “always” once is sufficient.

    • Anonymous

      RMS, that’s an awesome perspective. American kids should be learning how to fire bazookas. Cause Bazookas > AK’s. God bless America, the land of bibles and rifles.

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  • Fast45

    So many things wrong with this gun range, it’s hard to know where to begin. The meat of the story is the stupidity of the gun range owners/operators. The fact that someone was killed when children are allowed to fire machine guns, is simply a “duh.”

  • Steven Gunderson

    I believe we should have the right to own firearms and instructed our children of their use. However, this young girl didn’t WANT to shoot a machine gun, her parents wanted it for her. Tragedy aside, she would have been equally entertained and educated with a semi auto, pump, bolt, or lever action. Instead, she was handed a Machine Gun, and life will never be the same. Talk about the loss of innocence.

  • Julie Frye

    I know why the shooting range allowed a nine year old to shoot a high powered automatic weapon, it’s called greed. But there is something very wrong with parents that would let a nine year old even hold a loaded gun of any kind.

  • Anonymous

    A 9 year old girl shooting an Israel submachine gun?? Instructor hovering over her…. man oh man how stupid is this!!!

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