An Arizona gun range instructor was accidentally shot dead by a 9-year-old girl he was showing how to fire an automatic Uzi, police said.
The little girl’s parents were using cell phones to film the tutorial when tragedy struck around 10 a.m. Monday, Sam Scarmardo, the manager at the Arizona Last Stop gun range, told the Daily News.
Charles Vacca, 39, was shot in the head when the Uzi recoiled in the girl’s hands, sending “the weapon over her head,” the Mohave County Sheriff’s Officer said. The Lake Havasu City resident died at a Las Vegas hospital around 9 p.m. Monday.
Authorities examined the phones as part of the investigation into the shooting, Scarmardo said.
Vacca spent about 18 months as an instructor at the White Hills range, which sits near the Nevada border on the western edge of the state and bills itself as the “Grand Canyon West tourist headquarters.”
“It’s tragic news,” Scarmardo told The News. “He was like a brother. We’re a very tight-knit organization.”
Only certain ages are allowed to shoot at the range, but “the young lady fit within that limit,” Scarmardo said, without elaborating further.
Open for nearly 13 years, the range, which allows shooters to fire machine guns and high-powered weapons like a Barrett .50-caliber rifle, has never had somebody accidentally shot, “never had a scratch on anybody,” Scarmardo said.
Apparent video of the incident was obtained Tuesday by BNO News.
“We have to keep that held in, otherwise the gun won’t fire, OK?” Vacca is heard telling the girl, who is wearing pink shorts as she grasps the gun. “Turn this leg forward, there you go, just like that. Alright, go ahead and give me one shot.
“Alriiiiiight!” Vacca says.
“Alright, full auto,” he says as the gun sprays bullets and the video cuts out.
The outdoor range was shut down Monday after the accident but reopened for business Tuesday.
“Say a prayer for Charlie,” Scarmardo said.
The official cause and manner of Vacca’s death are pending an autopsy Tuesday, the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office of Nevada said.