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Girl who fatally shot Arizona gun instructor said weapon was too powerful

PHOENIX, Sept 2 (Reuters) - A 9-year-old girl who fatally shot a gun range instructor with an Uzi submachine gun last week told her mother afterward the weapon was too much for her to handle and had hurt her shoulder, according to a sheriff's report released on Tuesday.

The Mohave County Sheriff's Office report also said the girl's family did not immediately realize that the instructor, 39-year-old Charles Vacca, had been struck by a round from the gun.

Vacca had been showing the girl how to fire the Uzi at the Arizona Last Stop gun range in remote White Hills last week when the recoil caused her to lose control of the high-powered weapon, according to the Mohave County Sheriff's Office.

Vacca was struck by at least one bullet and died in an accident that has touched off debate over the wisdom of giving children access to high-powered firearms, even in a controlled setting such as a gun range.

The sheriff's office has said no criminal charges were pending after what it described as an "industrial accident," although the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health has opened its own investigation.

A video clip of the moments leading up to the shooting, released by the sheriff's office and circulating on the Internet, shows Vacca giving a girl in pink shorts and a braided ponytail hands-on instruction as she aims the Uzi at a black-and-white target shaped like the silhouette of a man.

The Last Stop is a tourist hub that includes a restaurant, bar, RV park and general store and is decorated with paintings of firearms, faux bullet holes and crosshairs and a mural depicting a gun-toting Sylvester Stallone in the film "Rambo."


Reporting by David Schwartz and Dan Whitcomb.