Arizona Range Shuts Down After Employee Shooting; Family Empathizes With 9 Y/O Shooter

The nine year old had less than 30 seconds of on camera instruction and fired just one shot on semi-auto before the instructor switched the weapon to fire full-auto.

Phoenix, Arizona’s 92.3 FM KATR is reporting that Arizona Last Stop, the gun-themed amusement park (I hesitate to call it a range) is shutting down indefinitely following the death of employee Charles Vacca.


A gun range where an instructor was accidentally shot and killed by a child this week has closed indefinitely.

Charles Vacca, 39, died Monday after he was shot in the head when an Uzi automatic jerked out of the hands of a 9-year-old girl he was teaching at Arizona Last Stop’s range in White Hills, Mohave County.

The range closed after the shooting but customers were still showing up two days later, according to a local news report.

Manager Sam Scarmardo said the site’s policies of allowing children 8 and older to shoot under adult supervision were under review.

Gun safety instructor Craig Cox said it’s hard to know if the girl could have handled the weapon at her age.

I’m going to disagree with Mr. Cox.

It isn’t hard at all to know if the girl could have handled that particular weapon. The Mini Uzi is a specialist’s weapon, designed for use elite military units and personal security details with a great deal of training under their belts. An average nine-year-old child is not going to be able to handle a sub six-pound SMG with a 950 rpm rate of fire after firing the single solitary shot of “training” that was shown in the video.

It is my opinion that the range owner’s desire for revenue exceeded his desire for employee and patron safety.

Vacca was the father of three children. They seem to feel a great deal of sympathy for the nine-year-old New Jersey girl who accidentally killed their father.


“We know it was a tragic accident and that it’s something that we’re all going to have to live with,” Vacca’s 19-year-old daughter Ashley said in an exclusive NBC News interview to be aired Friday on the TODAY show.

The 39-year-old veteran was teaching the girl how to use the automatic weapon Monday morning at the Last Stop outdoor shooting range in White Hills, Arizona, when she pulled the trigger and the kickback caused the gun to lurch over her head, investigators said.

“We really do want the prayers to be going out to the family of the little girl,” Ashley said, adding that she plans 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.”

Charles Vacca and his family in happier times.

A GoFundMe page has been established to help Vacca’s children.

He was a veteran of the U.S. Army.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member