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Girl at UZI shooting range kills instructor: 9-year-old loses control of weapon

A girl at an UZI shooting range killed her instructor after she lost control of her weapon and shot him in the head, according to a New York Times report from Wed., Aug. 27, 2014. Charles Vacca, a 39-year-old instructor at the range, was killed when the young girl attempted to fire an UZI that was set to fully automatic. She had previously fired the weapon successfully. However, the recoil was too much for her to handle once the settings were changed.

A 9-year-old girl at an UZI shooting range has killed her instructor. Image: An American trainee at the International Security Academy (ISA), carries a micro-UZI sub-machine gun
Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images

The tragic incident took place at Bullets and Burgers in Arizona, which is a firing range over the Nevada border. According to their website, "The Bullets and Burgers Adventure is a private outdoor range set in a stunning outdoor desert landscape. . . . located on the eclectic 30+ acre Arizona Last Stop property surrounded by picturesque mountain views at the edge of the undeveloped Lake Mead Recreational Area."

Bullets and Burgers boasts that customers can shoot a .50 caliber weapon and ride an ATV on their property. They also serve burgers. Clientele can even book bachelor, bachelorette and birthday parties at the facility. The list of available weapons includes SCAR, Mini-UZI, Desert Eagle .50 Cal, Galil 556 rifle, MAC-11, .44 Magnum and many more, including the UZI used by the girl who killed the instructor at the Arizona shooting range. There is no mention of the incident on the company's website.

Authorities have not released the name of the nine-year-old girl who killed her instructor with an UZI at the shooting range in White Hills, Ariz. She and her parents were reportedly New Yorkers vacationing in Las Vegas when they made their fateful journey to the range. The tragic shooting was caught on video. An edited version of that video has been posted online and serves as a bone of contention among people on either side of the gun control issue. The video clip does not show the moment when the instructor is shot in the head.

Mohave County Sheriff's deputies said the little girl was in the company of her parents at the shooting range when she killed the instructor with an UZI. Sam Scarmardo of Bullets and Burgers said the youngster was old enough to fire the powerful weapon, according to ABC. Children as young as five are permitted to fire .22 rifles at the range; to shoot an UZI, a child must be at least eight.

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