"One of the best decisions I had ever made"
- Joseph Lugo
Arizona shooting range instructor Charles Vacca was shot in the head and killed by a 9-year-old who was learning how to shoot an Uzi. It was, by all accounts, a tragic accident.
The 39-year-old veteran was teaching the girl how to use the automatic weapon at the Bullets and Burgers outdoor shooting range.
According to CNN (9.3.14), cell phone video shows the moments before the fatal shots were fired. In the video, Vacca is seen helping the girl at the outdoor range. She fires one shot. Then, Vacca adjusts the gun and places his right hand on her back and his left hand under her right arm. The girl fires several rounds in rapid succession and the kickback of the gun causes it to lurch to the left.
When the gun moved, Vacca was hit by a bullet. CNN reported that the August 25 death was being handled as an industrial accident.
For an earlier story on the fatal incident, CNN (8.28.14) contacted gun experts who said that the supervision and experience of instructors is crucial when teaching children to use guns. One expert questioned why Vacca was standing immediately to the left of the Uzi, “which would have recoiled in that direction.” Another expert said that the Uzi the wrong gun for a child to use, and instructors should stand to the rear and to the right of the shooter.
In New York State, New York State Workers’ Compensation pays for medical treatment of work related injuries and illnesses. It may also provide cash benefits if a worker’s injury or illness prevents them from working. Death benefits are provided for surviving spouses and dependent children of workers who are killed on the job.
Workers’ compensation in New York is a no-fault system. If an employee dies in a workplace accident, he or she is entitled to receive benefits even though the worker may be cause of the accident for violating the safety protocol. A workers’ comp lawyer can help families file a claim and help get them the maximum benefits.
The CNN News stories cited are “Family of girl who accidentally killed instructor with Uzi is ‘devastated’” and “Child firing Uzi at Ariz. shooting range accidentally kills instructor, police say.”