In image from video, firing-range instructor Charles Vacca, 39, is seen assisting a 9-year-old girl with an Uzi seconds before the weapon recoiled upwards, shooting Vacca in the head, at the Last Stop outdoor shooting range in White Hills, Ariz. / Getty Images
PHOENIX - The 9-year-old girl who accidentally shot and killed a firing range instructor with an Uzi last week told her mother immediately afterward that the gun was too powerful for her and that it had hurt her shoulder, according to a Mohave County Sheriff's Office report released Tuesday.
The family huddled around the girl, fearing she was injured, and did not realize that instructor Charles Vacca, 39, was wounded until another employee ran over, according to the report. After realizing what had occurred, the girl's parents immediately removed her and their other two children from the property and brought them to the nearby restaurant so they wouldn't see what happened, the report states.
The New Jersey family had been vacationing in Las Vegas and on Aug. 25 was shuttled to Bullets and Burgers, the firing range at Last Chance property in White Hills, Ariz. The family had taken a ride on a monster truck before heading to the shooting range, according to the report.
The girl's father was the first to fire the weapon, a mini Uzi 9mm, and then the girl took her turn. With the girl's mother recording, Vacca showed the 9-year-old how to stand and shoot the gun, allowing her to fire a few rounds.
At this point Vacca switched the gun into its automatic setting, according to a deputy who would later view the mother's video.
"(The father) said all of a sudden he heard a lot of rounds fire and saw (his daughter) drop the gun to the ground," the report states.
Range instructor Ross Miller witnessed the incident, and told deputies that he saw the girl start to shoot the weapon, and the recoil sent it straight up into the air and "crossed the path where Charles had his head," the report stated.
Employees immediately started applying pressure to Vacca's head wound and called 911.
Medical personnel arrived and stabilized Vacca before transporting him to the University Medical Center in Las Vegas via helicopter. Vacca passed away shortly thereafter, according to the report.
The girl's parents did not permit investigators to talk to their children because they were "going through a lot," the report states. The man said his family was in shock and they wanted to leave the area and return to Las Vegas, according to the report. The girl's mother allowed investigators to access the video on her cellphone.
Investigators collected evidence from the scene, including the firearm, the magazine and four live rounds. Deputies were instructed to retrieve copies of the release waivers signed by the family, but were told by employees that the waivers had blown away after the incident.
News of Vacca's death sparked a national discussion on gun safety and whether there are ever enough safety precautions in place when an automatic weapon is in the hands of a child.
Prosecutors are not filing charges in the case.
911 call excerpts
911 calls also released on Tuesday show bystanders' panicked attempts to save Vacca's life:
"I have a gun range officer that got shot in the head â?¦ we're at Arizona Last Stop," a breathless male voice said.
Dispatcher: "Is he breathing?"
Caller: "Yes he is, he's having convulsions. You need to send EMS right away."
The emergency dispatcher instructed the caller on how to apply pressure to Vacca's wound and insisted paramedics were on the way.
Another more desperate call came in later, according to sheriff's records:
Male voice: "Hi, I just called from the Last Stop, where the (expletive) is the helicopter?"
Dispatcher: Let me get medical back on the line for you, hold on, please.
(Background voices): "Keep breathing, keep breathing, come on. Keep breathing."
Dispatchers instructed witnesses to keep applying pressure to the wound and to not remove the cloth when it bled through.
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