Police reports shed light on girl who fatally shot instructor with Uzi

Shooting instructor Charles Vacca is seen in this image from video giving a lesson on using an Uzi to a 9-year-old girl at a gun range in White Hills, Ariz. on Aug. 25, 2014, moments before she accidentally shot him Mohave County Sheriff's Office

Last Updated Sep 2, 2014 3:19 PM EDT

PHOENIX -- A 9-year-old girl who accidentally killed a shooting range instructor with an Uzi in northern Arizona had said immediately after the shooting that she felt the gun was too much for her and had hurt her shoulder, according to police reports released Tuesday.

Her family members were focused on the girl because they thought she was injured by the gun's recoil and didn't immediately realize instructor Charles Vacca had been shot until one of his colleagues ran over.

The family, whose hometown hasn't been revealed by investigators, had taken a shuttle on Aug. 25 from Las Vegas about 60 miles south to the Last Stop range in White Hills, Arizona. Once arriving there, the girl, her parents, sister and brother took a monster truck ride before heading out to the shooting range.

The report did not say why the family had gone to the range or why they let the girl handle the Uzi.

The girl's father was the first one in the party to handle a weapon. After the father fired shots, Vacca showed the girl how to shoot the gun, showed her a shooting stance and helped her fire off a few rounds.

Then, he stepped back and let her hold the Uzi by herself. She fired the gun, and its recoil wrenched the Uzi upward, killing Vacca with a shot to the head, according to the report.

The girl dropped the Uzi, and Vacca fell to the ground.

The girl ran toward her family, who huddled around her as she held her shoulder. Another instructor rushed over to help to Vacca. The other children were then taken away from the range, according to the report.

The report describes the family as shaken by the accident.

Prosecutors are not filing charges in the case.

County prosecutors say the instructor was probably the most criminally negligent person involved in the accident for having allowed the child to hold the gun without enough training. They also said the parents and child weren't criminally culpable.

On Friday, Vacca's family said they feel sorry for the girl.

His daughter, 19-year-old Ashley, told NBC's "Today" show that the family knows it was a "tragic accident" and something she'll have to live with.

She said she planned to write a letter to the girl's family. "Our thoughts and our prayers are with them. We don't want their life to revolve around this," she said.

The tragedy ignited a discussion about whether children should be allowed to fire powerful automatic weapons, CBS News' John Blackstone reported.

Children in most states are legally allowed to fire any type of gun while supervised, but the question is should they be?

Dan Gross from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said no.

"I think most sane people would net out that it does not make sense to have a 9-year-old having access like that to a machine gun," Gross said.

The Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the state's workplace safety agency, is investigating the shooting-range death, said agency spokeswoman Rachel Brockway, who declined to provide specifics on the examination.

The coroner in Las Vegas said Vacca suffered from a single gunshot to the head.

Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy told The Associated Press that it will take several weeks for blood-toxicology test results to be complete, and authorities were still investigating the shooting. The coroner said that an official cause of death was pending.

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