Family ‘devastated’ after accidental shooting
PHOENIX (AP) – An attorney for the parents of a nine-year-old girl who accidentally killed an Arizona shooting range instructor with an Uzi said yesterday the family is devastated by the tragedy that occurred on a brief excursion during a vacation.
The statement came as investigators released police reports and 911 recordings involving the August 25 shooting of instructor Charles Vacca at the Last Stop range in White Hills, about 60 miles south of Las Vegas.
The police reports name the child’s parents as Alex Gen and Alison MacLachlan and don’t list the couple’s hometown.
New Jersey-based lawyer Kevin Walsh said the family “prayed day and night that (Vacca) would survive his injury, and they continue to pray for his family during this terribly difficult time”.
The police reports say that immediately after the shooting, the girl said she felt the gun was too much for her and had hurt her shoulder.
Her family members were focused on the girl because they thought she was injured by the gun’s recoil and didn’t immediately realize that Vacca had been shot until one of his colleagues ran over to him, the reports state.
The shooting set off a powerful debate over youngsters and guns, with many people wondering what sort of parents would let a child handle a submachine gun. However, neither the reports nor the statement by Walsh explains why the parents let the girl take the Uzi.
The family had taken a shuttle from Las Vegas to the range. After arriving, the girl, her parents, sister and brother took a monster truck ride before heading to the shooting range.
The girl’s father was the first one in the party to handle a weapon. After he fired shots, Vacca instructed the girl on how to shoot the gun, showed her a shooting stance, and helped her fire a few rounds, according to the reports.
He then stepped back and let her hold the Uzi by herself. She fired the gun, and its recoil wrenched the Uzi upward, killing Vacca with a shot to the head, the reports state.
The girl dropped the Uzi, and Vacca fell to the ground. The girl ran toward her family, who huddled around her as she held her shoulder. Another instructor rushed over to help to Vacca. The other children were then taken away from the range.