An Arizona gun range has been shuttered indefinitely after a 9-year-old girl accidentally killed her shooting instructor on Monday.
The New Jersey girl was learning to fire an Uzi sub-machine gun at Bullets and Burgers in White Hills when she lost control of the weapon and shot Charles Vacca, of Lake Havasu City. He died shortly after being airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas.
The accident comes as no surprise to White Hills resident Lance Krig, who filed a lawsuit against the business in Mohave County Superior Court in early 2012.
“This was exactly what I said was going to happen,” he told The Arizona Republic.
Krig, whose brother owns the property next door to the gun range, feared for his family’s safety and filed the suit citing a noise violation, though he was looking to get the range properly inspected as well.
“The explosive potential of these weapons is such that it could easily induce bodily function failures (heart attack, etc.) or reactionary distractions leading to immediate injury or death,” he wrote in his suit.
Krig ultimately won the noise violation case in late 2012, though the court saw no dangers in the range’s operations and allowed it to continue to operate.
However, in the wake on Monday’s accident, Bullets and Burgers has been closed indefinitely, with one worker telling The Arizona Republic he is unsure if the range will ever reopen.
“It’s a tragic accident,” he said. “We’re all still mourning our friend We felt like everyone here was family.”
The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office will not pursue criminal charges, though the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident as an industrial accident.
“I have regret we let this child shoot, and I have regret that Charlie was killed in the incident,” Bullets and Burgers range operator Sam Scarmardo told the Associated Press on Wednesday.