No Criminal Charges in Fatal Uzi Shooting

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( — August 30, 2014)  — Law enforcement officials in Arizona say no criminal charges will be filed in connection with the death of a firearms instructor who was fatally shot by a 9-year-old girl he was teaching to use an automatic weapon.

It has “being viewed as an industrial accident,” said the County, but state Occupational Health and Safety officials were conducting their own investigation of the Monday morning incident that was captured on video at a gun range nearby Las Vegas.

The firearms instructor, Charles Vacca, was accidentally shot in the head as he instructed the 9-year-old girl how to fire an Uzi (Israeli-made 9mm submachine gun). As she pulled the trigger, the gun jumped out of her left hand toward Vacca, who was standing beside her.

“It’s always the supervision,” said Gregory A. Danas, president of Massachusetts-based G&G Firearms. “But you also have gun enthusiasts running businesses where they place firearms in the hands of the uninformed, whether they’re 9-year-old kids who are not capable, or adults. It all stems from gun enthusiasts running businesses that require a level of professionalism and education. The unexpected, with firearms, is something that’s only learned through years of being a trainer, not a gun enthusiast.” said Danas.

A local man, Lance Krig, filed a lawsuit against Bullets and Burgers in 2012 over the gunfire noise, as CBS affiliate KLAS in Las Vegas reported.

“I stated on the record before the court, somebody is going to get killed up there,'” Krig said.

The gun range operator declined comment and the lawyer who represented Bullets and Burgers in Krig’s suit could not be reached, KLAS said.

“That’s not a kid’s gun,” said Greg Block who runs California-based Self-Defense Firearms Training, adding that not only was the Uzi the wrong gun to use, but that instructors should stand to the rear right of the shooter.

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said the girl was with her parents. The three reside in New Jersey.

Asked about the culpability of the girl’s parents, he said: “We have considered the parents, but if anyone was culpable it would be the instructor for putting a deadly weapon in her hands”.

According to the Children’s Defense Fund, accidental firearms injuries have been on the decline nationwide. In 2001, 5,091 children ages 19 and under were injured by a firearm.

Those numbers steadily decreased through 2009, when 3,587 firearm injuries to children under 19 were reported.

Most unintentional shooting deaths occur in the home (65 percent), based on data from 16 states.
The most common incidence (30 percent) of death by gunshot wound reported occurs when playing with the gun, according to CDF.