Victim's family feels sorry for girl who shot Uzi

Victim's family feels sorry for girl who shot Uzi

Credit: Mohave County Sheriff's Office / KTNV

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.

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by Julie Watson, Associated Press

azfamily.com

Posted on August 29, 2014 at 7:41 AM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 2 at 9:28 AM

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The accidental killing of a firing range instructor by a 9-year-old girl learning to shoot an Uzi unleashed a storm of criticism and anger, with much of it aimed at her parents.

But the ex-wife and children of instructor Charles Vacca say they harbor no ill feelings toward the girl and her family. Instead, they feel sorry for the child and want to write her a letter to comfort her.

"That's truly how we feel," Vacca's ex-wife, Anamarie, told The Associated Press by phone.

Charles Vacca was standing next to the girl when she squeezed the trigger at the Last Stop range in White Hills, Arizona, about 60 miles south of Las Vegas.

The recoil wrenched the Uzi upward, and the 39-year-old Vacca was fatally shot once in the head.

Anamarie Vacca said she has not spoken to the girl or her parents since the accident Monday, but her children want to write the letter, "knowing their family has to grieve through the same process."

The identities of the girl and her family have not been released.

"I know we're going to let her know to not revolve her life around it," Anamarie Vacca said about the accident.

The family first talked about their feelings toward the girl on NBC's "Today" show.

Groups seeking to reduce gun violence have said it was reckless to let the girl handle such a powerful weapon and are calling for tighter regulations regarding children and guns.

Sam Scarmardo, who operates the outdoor shooting range in the desert, has said the parents had signed waivers saying they understood the rules and were standing nearby, video-recording their daughter, when the accident happened.

Investigators released 27 seconds of the footage showing the girl from behind as she fires at a black-silhouette target. The footage, which does not show the instructor actually being shot, helped feed the furor on social media and beyond.

Prosecutors say they do not plan to file charges.

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SAN DIEGO -- The ex-wife of an Arizona shooting range instructor accidentally killed by a 9-year-old girl learning to use an Uzi said Friday that her family plans to write the child a letter to comfort her.

Instructor Charles Vacca was standing next to the girl on Monday at the Last Stop range in White Hills, Arizona, about 60 miles south of Las Vegas, when she squeezed the trigger. The recoil wrenched the Uzi upward, and the 39-year-old Vacca was fatally shot once in the head.

Vacca's ex-wife, Anamarie, told The Associated Press by phone that her family has not spoken to the girl or her parents but they are motivated to write the letter, "knowing their family has to grieve through the same process."

"I know we're going to let her know to not revolve her life around it," Anamarie Vacca said of what she would write to the girl about the tragic accident.

Anamarie Vacca said she and her children do not feel any anger or pin blame on the child, adding that they feel sorry for her.

"That's truly how we feel," she said.

The family first talked about their feelings toward the girl on NBC's "Today" show.

Vacca's daughter, 19-year-old Ashley, told NBC that the family knows it was a tragic accident and something the girl will have to live with.

Prosecutors say they will not file charges. The identities of the girl and her family have not been released.

"Family was very important" to Vacca, ex-wife told "Today"

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