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Victim's family feels sorry for girl who shot Uzi

Gun Range Instructor's Daughter: 'He Was A Good Person'

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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frank August 29 2014 at 11:08 PM

there is no reason on gods green earth that a 9 year old need to learn how to shoot a weapon like that. shame on her parents and the shooting range for letting her do it

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17 replies
Joy August 29 2014 at 11:18 PM

Such a sad and tragic story which only highlights the poor decisions of adults.

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3 replies
mterova August 29 2014 at 11:13 PM

The parents of the 9 yr. old girl need to be evaluated for their parenting skills. What kind of parents do this?

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10 replies
hdragoon57 August 29 2014 at 11:16 PM

At this time, wouldn't it be best if people held their tongues and felt some empathy for those involved? Is that too much to ask?

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21 replies
Hi! Tom August 29 2014 at 11:17 PM

I started shooting when I was 7 or 8 yrs old. We all learned about safety first and especially to keep the muzzle pointed down range. It's unfortunate that this accident happened, and my prayers go out to both families. Most of you that suggest that charges should be filed against the girls parents are seriously doltish. Accidents happen in every thing and every sport, that doesn't mean that every victims family should sue. This family of the shooting instructor understands this, unlike many of you that just use this tragedy as a platform for your doltish efficacious and disdain for guns.

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40 replies
gracecampbell59 August 29 2014 at 10:59 PM

Well, they should file charges against the idiotic parents.

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12 replies
threeleggedpig August 29 2014 at 11:26 PM

The gun range should be shut down for letting kids handle these weapons. The parents are idiots for thinking this was a good idea.

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3 replies
david August 29 2014 at 11:18 PM

Stupid parents...stupid instructor.

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7 replies
tokobali August 29 2014 at 11:05 PM

Mr. Vacca is as guilty as the little girl's parents. This isn't the Ukraine, and it isn't a place where a little girl benefitds in any way from learning to fire an Uzzi. It was incumbent upon Mr. Vacca to regretfully deny the request to teach the little girl to do so.

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4 replies
tonden123 August 29 2014 at 11:25 PM

America has the right to own guns and shoot them, its an ammendent too

Flag Reply +7 rate up
21 replies
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