The children of the Arizona shooting range instructor who was accidentally shot and killed by a 9-year-old girl with an Uzi have released a message for her, urging the young girl to find peace and move forward with her life.
This girl unintentionally shot Charles Vacca, an instructor at the Last Stop shooting range an hour away from Las Vegas, after he let her fire the weapon on her own. His death, and the fact that it involved a 9-year-old firing an Uzi, sparked a debate over why such a young child was allowed to use such a powerful gun.
In a recorded video statement released through the law firm Lamber Goodnow/Fennemore Craig, Vacca’s children — who range in ages from 11 to 19, according to the firm — describe their father as more than just a shooting range instructor. They also urge the young girl, who has not been identified, to try and move on from the incident.
“Our dad would want you to know that you should move forward with your life,” Elizabeth, one of his daughters, says in the video. “You should not let this define you.”
She describes Vacca as “funny, strong” and “a good man.”
Vacca’s family has asked for privacy, but released the video because they wanted to reveal more about their father and send a message to the girl, according to the law firm.
“You are only 9 years old,” Tyler, one of Vacca’s sons, says in the video. “We think about you. We are worried about you. We pray for you. And we wish you peace. Our dad would want the same thing.”
The 9-year-old girl dropped the gun after the fatal shot was fired, telling her mother that “the gun was too much for her,” according to a report released by the Mohave County Sheriff’s Department.
Because she dropped the gun and held her shoulder, her family members gathered around her and didn’t initially realize Vacca had been shot, the report said. No criminal charges are pending, but the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health said it is investigating the shooting.
While Vacca’s children say they don’t know the girl’s identity, they are still “connected by this tragedy,” Christopher, one of his sons, says. And he adds that they do hope to meet her one day.
“Someday we hope we can meet you, hug you and tell you that it’s okay,” he says.