The 9-year-old girl who accidentally shot and killed an Arizona shooting range instructor with an Uzi said that the weapon was "too much for her," according to a police report released Tuesday — and in a separate statement the girl's family said they "prayed day and night that he would survive his injury."
The Mohave County Sheriff's Office incident report, which redacts the name of the girl as well as a brother and sister, notes that in the immediate aftermath of the shooting on August 25, the family did not realize that "Last Stop Gun Range" instructor Charles Vacca, 39, was fatally wounded.
According to a statement from a Deputy B. Cassidy, the father — who had fired the sub-machine gun first — told officers "it appeared that (the girl) was injured as she was holding her shoulder. (The father) said the family huddled around her and was unaware that Vacca had been shot."
The father then said he saw another instructor run to the table and begin helping Vacca, and it was only then he realized the scope of the tragedy.
"(The father) said he immediately brought his family to the restaurant so his children would not see what happened."
Cassidy then spoke to the girl's mother, and she was the one to first show police a cellphone video of the incident.
"(The mother) was visibly upset and shaken," the report reads. She said "the gun went off and saw (her daughter) drop the gun. (The girl) turned to her and told her the gun was too much for her and it hurt her shoulder. (The mother) said no one knew Vacca was shot until the other instructor ran over."
The report indicates that police never interviewed the children involved, including the shooter, because they were too traumatized by the event. The case was cleared as an "accidental shooting."
Following the release of the report, the girl's family put out a statement on Tuesday afternoon saying, they were "devastated by this accident that turned what was supposed to be a unique and brief excursion from their summer vacation into a life changing tragedy."
The family said they "prayed day and night that (Vacca) would survive his injury, and they continue to pray for his family during his terribly difficult time. The family also asks for the public's prayers for their own family."
They said they were dealing with it privately and noted that "although certain people will seek to use this tragedy for their own partisan purposes and agendas, the family asks all compassionate Americans to pray for their children and the entire Vacca family."
The Mohave County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday also released audio of the frantic 911 calls that were made after the shooting.
On one, a caller desperately pleads for a medevac chopper. "Hi, I just called from the Last Stop, where the f--- is the helicopter?" the man screams. In the background, another person can be heard working on Vacca, saying, "Keep breathing, keep breathing, keep breathing."
Vacca was eventually airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, where he was pronounced dead.