Arizona Girl Fatal Shooting Accident

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CNN

(CNN) — A 9-year-old girl learning to fire a submachine gun accidentally killed her instructor at a shooting range when the weapon recoiled over her shoulder, according to Arizona authorities.

The instructor, 39-year-old Charles Vacca, died at a hospital late Monday night after he was shot in the head.

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said the girl was with her parents. The three reside in New Jersey. The website of Bullets and Burgers, the shooting range where the accident happened, says children between the ages of 8 and 17 can shoot a weapon if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Police said the weapon was an Uzi, an Israeli-made submachine gun that some experts say is the wrong choice of firepower for instructing a child.

Representatives of the gun range declined CNN requests for comment on the incident Wednesday. But Sam Scarmardo, who operates Bullets and Burgers, told CNN affiliate KLAS Tuesday they “really don’t know what happened.”

“Our guys are trained to basically hover over people when they’re shooting,” Scarmardo said. “If they’re shooting right-handed, we have our right-hand behind them ready to push the weapon out of the way. And if they’re left-handed, the same thing.”

By Steve Almasy, AnneClaire Stapleton and Ray Sanchez