Lawyer says family of girl with Uzi is devastated - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Lawyer says family of girl with Uzi is devastated

Posted: Updated:
By JACQUES BILLEAUD and JOSH CORNFIELD
Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) - An attorney for the parents of a 9-year-old girl who accidentally killed an Arizona shooting range instructor with an Uzi said Tuesday 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 Aug. 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.

The reports describe the family as shaken by the accident.

Recordings of 911 calls show that people at the shooting range desperately tried to keep the unconscious Vacca alive as they urged 911 dispatchers to send a medical helicopter.

A dispatcher urged callers to apply pressure to Vacca's wound.

Vacca was flown to a Las Vegas hospital where he died hours later.

Prosecutors are not filing charges in the case. Arizona's workplace safety agency is investigating the death.

County prosecutors say the instructor was probably the most criminally negligent person involved in the accident for having allowed the child to hold the gun without enough training. They also said the parents and child weren't criminally culpable.

The girl's mother had video-recorded the accident on her phone.

"All right, go ahead and give me one shot," Vacca tells the girl in part of the video released by investigators. He then cheers when she fires one round at the target.

"All right full auto," Vacca says. The video, which does not show Vacca being shot, ends with a series of shots being heard.

Sam Scarmardo, the range's operator, has said the parents had signed waivers saying they understood the rules. He also said he never had a safety problem before at the range and his policy of allowing children 8 and older to fire guns under adult supervision and an instructor's watchful eye is standard industry practice, though he noted his policies are under review.

Vacca's ex-wife and children have said they harbor no ill feelings toward the girl and her family. Instead, they feel sorry for the child and want to comfort her.

___

Cornfield contributed to this report from Trenton, New Jersey. News Researcher Rhonda Shafner also contributed from New York.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Most ReadMost ReadMore>>

  • Man indicted for attempted murder of Lanett police officer

    Man indicted for attempted murder of Lanett police officer

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 12:22 PM EDT2014-09-16 16:22:25 GMT
    A Chambers County grand jury has indicted Jarod Moreland for Attempted Capital Murder of a Lanett police officer.  Per Lanett Police Chief Angie Spates, in August of 2013, Moreland allegedly took policeMore >>
    A Chambers County grand jury has indicted Jarod Moreland for Attempted Capital Murder of a Lanett police officer.  Per Lanett Police Chief Angie Spates, in August of 2013, Moreland allegedly took policeMore >>
  • Father accused of killing 5 children extradited back to S. Carolina

    Father accused of killing 5 children extradited back to S. Carolina

    Thursday, September 11 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-09-11 23:56:58 GMT
    The father accused of killing and dumping the bodies of his five children along a rural dirt road in Wilcox County, Alabama was successfully extradited back to the state of South CarolinaMore >>
    The father accused of killing and dumping the bodies of his five children along a rural dirt road in Wilcox County, Alabama was successfully extradited back to the state of South Carolina Thursday to face charges, according to local reports.More >>
  • breaking

    Missing juvenile boy located

    Missing juvenile boy located

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-09-16 16:05:39 GMT
    The Columbus Police Department has located a missing juvenile and returned him to his residence. Terrell D. Baldwin, also known as "Tank," was last seen at 513 35th Street on Wednesday, Sept. 10 2014.More >>
    The Columbus Police Department has located a missing juvenile and returned him to his residence. Terrell D. Baldwin, also known as "Tank," was last seen at 513 35th Street on Wednesday, Sept. 10 2014.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, Ga. 31906

FCC Public File
publicfile@wtvm.com
706-494-5400
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WTVM. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.