Bullets and Burgers: 9-Year-Old Girl Accidentally Kills Instructor After Being Given Uzi At Target Range

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 3.24.58 PMWe previously discussed the tragic case of an eight-year-old boy who shot himself accidentally with a fully automatic Uzi. A similar tragedy has now occurred but it is the instructor who was killed by a 9-year-old girl learning to fire a submachine gun in Arizona at the Bullets and Burgers shooting range. The instructor, 39-year-old Charles Vacca, died at a hospital after he was shot in the head.

300px-uzi_1Bullets and Burgers allows children between 8 and 17 to shoot such weapons. An Uzi is an Israeli-made submachine gun. In this case, the recoil moved the weapon off the shoulder of the little girl and turned toward the instructor. The video showing the event up to the second before the shooting is shown below. The video shows Vacca positioning the little and her firing off a single round. Vacca then adjusted the Uzi, put his right hand on her back and his left under her right arm. She fired several rounds in rapid succession before the gun kicked to the left as she lost control. She was with her parents.

Bullets and Burgers advertises that “We separate ourselves from all other Las Vegas ranges with our unique ‘Desert Storm’ atmosphere and military style bunkers.”

These types of accidents are generally covered under issues of assumption of the risk and contractual waivers by all of the parties, including the instructors. The death would be covered under worker’s compensation unless the Vacca family will seek negligence liability for how the facility is run or structured as well as standards of training and safety. There is the separate question of whether the state should limit such use of weapons, a highly controversial question with gun rights advocates who are likely to point out that all of the parties consent to such risks (with the parents consenting for the minor). Finally, there is the emotional distress for this little girl who will have to live with this incredibly horrific memory.

Notably, some coverage suggests that Vacca may have been negligent in where he was standing. Greg Block, who runs California-based Self-Defense Firearms Training, said that a child should not be using this type of gun and that Vacca “was literally in the line of fire. He did pretty much everything wrong, and I don’t like saying that because it cost the man his life.” That would raise the question of possible liability of the range if the family were to sue over the trauma to their daughter, though such a lawsuit would present difficult issues since they would effectively have to sue the man killed by the minor under a respondeat superior theory.

In the Massachusetts case, former Pelham Police Chief Edward Fleury was found not guilty two years ago in a prosecution for involuntary manslaughter and furnishing a machine gun to a minor in the death of 8-year-old Christopher Bizilj.

205 thoughts on “Bullets and Burgers: 9-Year-Old Girl Accidentally Kills Instructor After Being Given Uzi At Target Range”

  1. No further testing is necessary for lawful citizens to exercise their right to vote, I think that should be quite clear. To suggest that further proficiency testing is necessary to vote, is harkening back to a time that we all should be ashamed of as US citizens.

  2. Annie, I didn’t see John say anything about race of the voter. As far as immigrants go, I don’t recall many 18 year old immigrants taking the citizenship test, but you do bring up a good demonstration of proficiency. I wonder how many recent high school graduates could pass that test. Since you have concluded that the citizenship test does a good job of demonstrating the proficiency that should be possessed by anyone wanting to participate in the process, and I concur that it would be a relevant demonstration, let’s push to enact it.

  3. Annie,
    Are you suggesting 9 year old immigrants should be restricted from shooting Uzi’s or that all citizens should be able to pass a citizenship test? I’m not following your logic.

  4. JohnO, back to the bad old days in which tests were given before an adult citizen of color could vote? Is that an Oath Keeper thing? If an immigrant can pass the test to become a citizen, they are proficient.

    1. Annie – oddly enough that test that immigrants pass to become citizens is regularly failed by native born Americans.

    1. Voting has changed over the years and who has the right to vote has changed. Voting rights for federal elections are controlled by the feds. Voting rights for state candidates are controlled by the state. In Arizona, voter IDs are required to vote for state and local candidates, but not for federal candidates.

  5. Elaine, it reminds me of JT’s blog post in which the guy was guilty BECAUSE of his silence.

  6. Paul C.,

    Did you see my comment on the “Monkeys Don’t Own Copyrights” thread? The Judge agreed with you. I don’t, but that’s why we have judges! 🙂

  7. Nick,

    Did you ever hear the expression “fight fire with fire?” That’s how I suggest you respond to Elaine’s link drops that are devoid of commentary. Get your friends and family to do the same. – I don’t think it will be long before Professor Turley will be asking that the posting of linked articles only be done in support of associated commentary.

    It’s one thing to state a position and then provide a link or two in support of that position, but another thing rely entirely on somebody else to do so for you. “Link Bombs” as you call them, and as they are used by some, provide a way out for those who have a desire to participate, but don’t want to be held accountable to their stated position.

    On long threads, the numerous “link bombs” slow the loading of the comments, and on older computers may even prevent a reader from leaving a comment. Perhaps that is the intent? A form of disenfranchisement?

  8. I have ignored you many times. You have a selective memory. That’s all I’ll have to say to you on this thread. You can continue to tell me and others what my opinions on certain issues are. LOL!

  9. In your case, he’s probably right. But, it’s interesting you choose that strategy when asked a very civil and legit question. Never before have you ignored me. But when asked about guns and the 2nd Amendment, on a gun thread, where you have done a mini link bomb, is he precise time you choose this strategy says it all. Thank you.

  10. Safety at firing ranges largely self regulated

    A man who says he had been an employee at the gun range described it as a “shake and bake” operation that allowed a steady cash flow to dictate its ­protocol.

    “You get these customers come in off the road, and then you have the Bullets and Burgers van — those are the high-dollar packages. We don’t really have a lot of time to train them,” said Eric Parry, a former firearms instructor and potential witness in a lawsuit against the business. “They want to run them in there and run them out. Safety was not first, it was second.”

  11. LOL!! “You’re not the boss of me” said the child. Absent an answer to a reasonable question on this gun thread, I’ll put you down as a hater of guns and the 2nd Amendment, Elaine. As most of us figured anyway. You live in the 2nd Amendment hating capital of the US. As I have said, you learn much from what people don’t say or do.

  12. Lawsuit filed against AZ gun range pointed out safety concerns

    8 News NOW checked on the Bullets and Burgers gun range and found out it had been scrutinized long before Monday’s Uzi shooting death. 8 News NOW has uncovered a lawsuit filed against the gun range.

    The man who filed the suit said he feared something like this tragedy would happen.

    The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office has not returned our phone calls since Tuesday. Sheriff Jim McCabe is not being made available for interviews.

    The Bullets and Burgers gun range is now refusing to talk with us as well, but a man who sued over the gun range is talking.

    “I stated on the record before the court, I said, ‘somebody is going to get killed up there,” Lance Krig, who filed the lawsuit, said

  13. Plaintiff warned of ‘a tragedy,’in suit against Bullets and Burgers range

    “I’ve been blessed with a great deal of common sense,” Krig said at an October hearing. “I look over at that shooting range and I say: That’s wrong. It’s in violation of the law and it’s in violation of common sense.”

    During the same hearing, Krig argued that the people using the range weren’t experts but tourists, some of whom had very little experience with such powerful weapons.

    “I would suggest, in the interest of public safety, before there is a tragedy, a catastrophe on… this shooting range, somebody gets hurt, maimed or killed, I would request that you demand that it go through the proper channels and the Board of Supervisors review this,” Krig implored Judge Lee Jantzen.

  14. John, Great question. There are insurance companies who specialize in high risk business coverage. I did a lot of work for one in Wi. They insured biker bars, titty clubs, roller rinks, etc. As you might imagine, they provided me some of the most interesting cases I worked as a PI. These companies have some risk management, but for the most part, they charge HIGH premiums, and if there’s a claim, they will defend it, and then drop the insured. Seems like a poor business model, but they have been in business for a long time.

  15. I don ‘t think you need to have a law about everything, and a new micro-managing law everytime something stupid happens. Common sense should handle some of this stuff. Only an idiot would put a fully automatic weapon into the hands of a 9 year old. That is what they make semi -automatic assault rifles for!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

Comments are closed.