Arizona county clears girl shooter in gun range death
WHITE HILLS, Ariz. — County law enforcement officials in Arizona said on Thursday that no criminal charges are pending from a probe into a gun range incident in which a 9-year-old girl fatally shot her instructor with an Uzi, adding it was “being viewed as an industrial accident.”
State occupational health and safety officials were conducting their own probe of the Monday morning tragedy that was captured on video at a gun range that caters in part to tourists visiting nearby Las Vegas.
The shooting at the Arizona Last Stop in White Hills, near the Nevada border, has touched off debate over shooting ranges offering machine guns to casual visitors and the wisdom of giving children access to high-powered firearms.
“Based on the video, the Sheriff's Office has determined no charges are pending,” the Mohave County Sheriff's Office said in a statement, adding that the shooting was “being viewed as an industrial accident.”
A video clip released by the sheriff's office of the moments just before the fatal shooting and circulating on the Internet shows Charles Vacca giving a girl in pink shorts and a braided ponytail hands-on instruction as she aims the Uzi at a black and white target shaped like the silhouette of a man.
Vacca is heard encouraging the girl and asking her to squeeze off one shot. Then he tells her, “All right, full auto,” and the weapon unleashes multiple rounds as the video cuts off.
It was apparently moments later that Vacca was shot in the head when the girl lost control of the submachine gun.
Vacca, 39, had been standing next to the girl when the recoil forced her arm over her head, the sheriff's office said.
Authorities have not said how many times Vacca was hit, but NBC News reported he was killed by a single bullet in the head.