N.J. girl in Arizona Uzi accident not 9-year-old competitive shooter

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The highly trained competitive shooter, Shyanne Roberts, who will turn 10 on Thursday, said that she was upset when she heard a 9-year-old New Jersey girl accidentally shot and killed an instructor as he showed her how to shoot a fully automatic weapon on Monday.


Her father Dan Roberts, a weapons instructor who began teaching Shyanne to shoot at age 4, said that’s more to do with the lack of opportunity to shoot a fully automatic rifle in New Jersey, where they’re highly regulated, than concerns she couldn’t handle one.

It really depends on the individual circumstances,” said Roberts when asked if children should be allowed to operate automatic weapons at a young age. “It’s situational.

Shyanne and Dan Roberts say they were not in Arizona this week and not involved in the gun range accident but they were willing to weigh in on the topic Wednesday night.

“It’s a tragedy it really is, but it’s not in any way in my opinion an indictment on firearms in general, on children with firearms,” says Dan Roberts.

He pointed out several mistakes he thinks the victim made including where he stood. Shyanne who is well versed in the use of pistols, shotguns and rifles says she’s never shot a fully automatic submachine gun like the Uzi that was fired in the Arizona accident, but she’s always wanted to try.

She and her dad had a talk after seeing the video and while she’s saddened by what happened it doesn’t scare her or make her change her goals. “I’d like to get a national title and be a role model to kids,” says Shyanne who turns 10 on Thursday and can’t wait to get a New Jersey hunting license.

A video of the moments leading up to the accident at the “Bullets and Burgers” range in White Hills, Arizona, show instructor Charles Vacca, 39, of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, standing beside the girl at the Last Stop outdoor shooting range when she pulled the trigger of what was reported to be an Uzi.

The recoil sent the gun over the head of the girl, whose name has not been released, and the instructor was hit by an unspecified amount of bullets.

Vacca died Monday, a short time after being airlifted to a hospital in Las Vegas, authorities said.