Cops: Gun Range Claimed Uzi Release Forms ‘Were Blown Away By The Wind’

Staff at an Arizona gun range reportedly told investigators that the release forms signed by the family of a 9-year-old girl who accidentally killed her instructor with an Uzi last week were unavailable because they had been “blown away by the wind.”

An investigative report released by the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office to TPM and other news outlets on Tuesday included descriptions by a sergeant and deputy who helped investigate the fatal Aug. 25 shooting at the Bullets and Burgers shooting range in White Hills, Arizona.

The victim, Charles Vacca, was wounded in the head when the 9-year-old girl he was instructing lost control of the Uzi when the gun recoiled. The investigators spoke with the girl’s family and the staff of the shooting range and attempted to get the release forms that had apparently been signed by the family, according to the report.

Sgt. J. Thien described his attempt to get the releases in the report:

Here’s deputy B. Cassidy’s description of his attempt to locate the release forms:

The 12-page investigative report revealed the names of the girl’s mother and father, but her name, as well as those of her siblings, was blacked out. According to the report, the girl’s family didn’t realize Vacca had been shot because they were concerned by their daughter’s reaction and possible shoulder injury. Vacca’s co-worker, Ross Miller, was the first to notice that Vacca had been struck in the head. When the family became aware of what had occurred, they told investigators they left the area and went to the gun range’s restaurant where police spoke with the parents, according to the report.

The report said Vacca died from his injuries on Aug. 25 after being flown to a hospital in Las Vegas, Nev.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ahiza Garcia is a newswriter based in New York City. Before joining TPM, Ahiza interned and freelanced for Nightline, Fox Sports, and ESPN the Magazine. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Columbia University and an M.S. in digital journalism from Syracuse University. She can be reached at ahiza@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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