9-year-old girl accidentally shoots instructor at gun range

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Dolan Springs, AZ (KVVU) -- A gun instructor, who deputies said was shot Monday when a 9-year-old girl handled an automatic Uzi, died of his injuries.

Charles Vacca, 39, of Lake Havasu City, AZ, died Monday night while being treated at University Medical Center in Las Vegas, the Mohave County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.

The sheriff's office said the incident happened about 10 a.m. Monday at an outdoor shooting range at the Last Stop at 20606 North Highway 93 in White Hills near the Nevada-Arizona border.

According to the sheriff's office, the instructor was standing next to the girl who was handling a 9 mm automatic Uzi. Citing an investigation, the sheriff's office said the child shot once and then lost control of the Uzi, firing four more shots.

The recoil during the child's operation of the firearm sent it over her head and resulted in Vacca being struck in the head, deputies said.

The man was airlifted to UMC where he later died.

The sheriff's office said the child's parents were present at the time of the incident. A spokeswoman with Mohave County Sheriff's Office said the girl's father handled the gun first before the 9-year-old operated it.

The Clark County Coroner's Office was assigned to perform an autopsy.


      • Ryan Sellman

        Are you f-cking stupid?? It was an ACCIDENT, meaning the child did not intentionally shoot the instructor. She was too little to be able to handle the gun’s recoil. It was not her fault. She’s innocent. The dumbass parents shouldn’t have let her fire the gun.

      • johnny laizure

        they should try her parents the instructor and you as idiots. a 9 year old girl for heavens sake ,there is no way she would have the strength to hang on to that weapon and they all should have known that

  • Brandon Lee

    Their are a few places that allow you to shoot a full auto at a nice markup. This isn’t “training” it’s a novelty, like skydiving. This is a big draw to those from foreign countries as well as those from socialist states (in the U.S.)
    The problem here was that he gave a child a compact weapon with a blistering cyclic rate, short lockup and he put himself in a bad position. New shooters don’t expect the sudden “climb.” As the muzzle rises they tend to grip harder rather than releasing the trigger finger. I hope that all of the tourist “shoot a machinegun” places learns from this. Guns are not novelty items. They are tools to be respected. Owners of guns have a responsibility to insure the safety, security, and proper weapon handling. I hope that little girl we be OK, and peace be with that man’s family.
    Note to parents: Please teach your children about gun safety (first and foremost.) If you want to teach them to shoot their are a lot of good programs that place safety above everything else. The NRA has a good programs that places safety first.

  • Samale Matina

    Seriously !!! giving a 9 year old an automatic weapon (or any weapon for that matter). Feel sorry for all those American’s who live in this NRA fueled paranoia of guns, guns and more guns… for protection against some imaginary ‘boogeyman’. Keep doing what you are doing, killing each other intentionally or unintentionally… you seem to have found an interest means of population control…

    • Denise

      Well isn’t that funny coming from someone that sounds like a foreigner. As I recall they are teaching children to kill and go to war at ages starting at 6 yrs old in foreign countries. So who is sad now? Take ur sorry ass back to ur own country and stay there. Stop sucking money out of our government.

  • InDisbelief

    Agreed. In no way is this her fault. She is 9!!!! This will forever change her life …. poor …poor judgement all the way across the board…..exception being the child.

  • Nicki

    This poor kid is going to have to live with this forever! Why on God’s earth is any parent letting their child shoot a automatic weapon specialty at 9 when they most likely have no controll of a single shot weapon!! These parents just ruined their child’s life forever!! SHAME ON THEM!!!!

  • Freethinking Jeremy

    It is important to remember that in no way would responsible gun control (such as restricting automatic weapons or not handing automatic weapons to a 9 year old) have prevented this. The only solution is less gun control! Because only a good guy with a gun can stop… a little with a gun.

  • Yorker

    I grew up in a gun savvy family, and we got to shoot bb guns at 13 and somewhere around 16 to 18 we were taught to shoot a regular gun. More than likely that was because a regular gun is going to require a lot more strength to control. Whoever was teaching that skinny little girl to shoot a submachine gun was begging for tragedy, now he’s dead and that poor kid is scarred for life. The instructor bears the responsibility because he of all people should have known better. Thoughts and prayers for the families and the kid.

  • doug


    this was a business. did the business not have any rules of what the age of the person should be to shoot a machine gun. why did the instructor let her shoot a gun. I think accountability should start with the business the instructor and the parents

  • Jim

    People need not to jump the gun in this situation, this is intirerly on the gun range and their policy. This is by far NOT the girls fault or the guns fault or the instructors fault . accidents happen in all aspects of life in what we do. I pray for all involved.

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