With an instructor watching, an 8-year-old boy at a gun fair aimed an Uzi at a pumpkin and pulled the trigger as his dad reached for a camera.
It was his first time shooting a fully automatic machine gun, and the recoil of the weapon was too much for him. He lost control and fatally shot himself in the head.
"The weapon was loaded and ready to fire," Westfield police Lt. Hipolito Nunez said. "The 8-year-old victim had the Uzi and as he was firing the weapon, the front end of the weapon went up with the backfire and he ended up receiving a round in his head."
Christopher, a third-grader, was attending the show with his father and sixth-grade brother, Colin. Christopher had fired handguns and rifles before, but Sunday was his first time firing an automatic weapon, said his father, Charles Bizilj.
Bizilj told the Boston Globe he was about 10 feet behind his son and reaching for his camera when the weapon fired. He said his family avoided the larger weapons, but he let his son try the Uzi because it's a small weapon with little recoil.
"This accident was truly a mystery to me," said Bizilj, director of emergency medicine at Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford, Conn. "This is a horrible event, a horrible travesty, and I really don't know why it happened."
Massachusetts has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. It is legal in Massachusetts for children to fire a weapon if they have permission from a parent or legal guardian and they are supervised by a properly certified and licensed instructor, Nunez said. The name of the instructor who was with the boy at the time was not released.
Too many unknowns to hazard a guess. Recoil, stance, grip, attention from the shooter, attention from those supervising. Too many unknowns.