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. OED definition of “parrot”:

    Repeat mechanically: encouraging students to parrot back information


    OED definitions of “quote”:

    – Repeat or copy out (a group of words from a text or speech), typically with an indication that one is not the original author or speaker: he quoted a passage from the Psalms

    – Repeat a passage from (a work or author) or statement by (someone)

    – Mention or refer to (someone or something) to provide evidence or authority for a statement, argument, or opinion


  2. How brave of some of the fellows to make accusations against/snide comments about two of us gals when they know we gals won’t be around for a while.

  3. This little accident could be a wonderful learning experience for the little girl who killed the instructor if this little girl should ever become a law enforcement officer or a soldier. Those who choose to serve as killers for the state must learn to overcome their natural aversion to killing other human beings. This accidental killing gives the little girl an advantage over other future cops or soldiers be giving her an opportunity to learn how to deal with killing another human being.

    Besides, perhaps this gun instructor was no angel and deserved to die. He may have been a shoplifter or even a marijuana smoker. He might have worn a hoodie and listened to rap music for all we know. He may have been suspected of any number of crimes.

    He certainly should have known that he had a dangerous job. Working at a shooting range is probably more dangerous than being a paid killer for the state, so he should have had his affairs in order and should have been completely prepared to die.

    What’s that old saying? Live by the submachine gun, die by the submachine gun? Something like that.

  4. “parrot” verb

    : to repeat (something, such as words, ideas, etc.) without understanding the meaning

    “quote” verb

    : to repeat (something written or said by another person) exactly

  5. “Three principles guide our work: (1) all Americans should be able to vote; (2) voting should be free and easy; and (3) all votes should count equally.” https://www.aclu.org/voting-rights

    They also claim to want voter education but I can find nothing that indicates that to be about basic civics. From what I can determine, voter education is to teach how to use the power of the vote to support issues. I have no problem with that but when does the education kick in that teaches them about our founding principles? How would they know the vote they cast won’t harm the natural rights of other citizens?

    What if that first paragraph read as follows: “Three principles guide our work: (1) all Americans should be able to own firearms; (2) firearms should be free and easy to acquire; and (3) all use of firearms should be equally free.”

    Then, what if the firearm education promoted using firearms to support issues without any education on the principles of firearm safety? How would they know the use won’t harm the natural rights of other citizens?

  6. Annie,

    Just as Paul is. He’s pretending that the words “parrot” and “quote” don’t have different connotations. Then again, maybe the difference is too subtle for him to comprehend.

  7. Annie,
    You think I’m twisting your words and I’m actually trying to untwist your logic. Why is civics testing necessary for immigrants to become citizens if that same testing is not required for those already citizens? Being born a U.S. citizen and attending public schools does not come close to preparing anyone to pass the citizenship test. The data is out there to prove this.

    Your logic would then support a law providing every citizen a firearm when they turned 18 years of age, even without any training.

    Basic civics knowledge is the goal with 100% participation of all citizens 18 years of age and above. Any argument against that exposes the desire to exploit voter ignorance. That is the epitome of despicable behavior.

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