Family of girl who accidentally killed gun instructor didn’t realize he had been shot

A police report released on Tuesday reveals new details on the death of a shooting instructor who was accidentally shot by a 9-year-old girl.

According to the report, the girl and her family, originally from New Jersey, were on vacation in Las Vegas. On August 25, shortly before 10 a.m., the family visited the Bullets and Burgers shooting range at the Last Stop in White Hills, Arizona.

The family was met by Gun Range Instructor Ross Miller as well as the Range Master, 39-year-old Charles Vacca. After the girl’s father fired a few rounds, Vacca gave the girl a mini Uzi 9mm and showed her how to shoot, according to the report.The police report states that the girl fired a few rounds as her mother recorded everything on her cellphone.

The girl then fired another shot which appeared to hurt her shoulder. The girl dropped the gun to the ground and told her mother that the weapon was “too much for her.” The family checked on the young girl, completely unaware that Vacca had been struck, according to police.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

According to the police report, the recoil on the last shot caused the girl to lift the gun over her left shoulder and accidentally point it towards Vacca. Vacca was shot in the head and immediately fell to the ground. The family didn’t realize Vacca had been shot until they saw Miller run over towards him and apply pressure to his head, according to the report.

The father told police that he immediately took his family inside a restaurant so that they couldn’t see what was happening. Vacca was flown to University Medical Center in Las Vegas where he later died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

According to the police report, the father told investigators he preferred if they not speak to his children about the incident. The mother was interviewed and submitted her cellphone video to investigators.

During an interview with NBC News, Vacca’s family said they didn’t blame the girl for the instructor’s death and instead felt “sorry” for her.

The name of the young girl has not been released.




WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal