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Indictments in death of boy who accidentally shot

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Laudygirl, Dec 4, 2008.

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  1. Laudygirl

    Laudygirl TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) -- A police chief whose company sponsored a gun fair and two other men have been indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter in the death of an 8-year-old boy who accidentally shot himself in the head with an Uzi at the gun fair.

    The Westfield Sportsman's Club also faces the manslaughter charge in the death of Christopher Bizilj (bah-SEAL') of Ashford, Conn., who lost control of the 9mm micro submachine gun as it recoiled while he was firing at a pumpkin.

    The boy's father was 10 feet behind him and reaching for his camera when the child fired the weapon.

    Pelham Police Chief Edward Fleury owns the COP Firearms & Training, which sponsored the Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo last month at the Westfield Sportsman's Club.

    Two other men, Carl Guiffre of Hartford, Conn., and Domenico Spano, of New Milford, Conn., also were indicted on involuntary manslaughter charges. They brought the automatic weapon to the show, after assurances from Fleury that it was legal under Massachusetts law, District Attorney William Bennett said.

    "A Micro Uzi is made by and for the Israeli Armed Forces and is intended to meet the operational needs of Israeli Special Forces," Bennett said, noting the weapon has a rate of fire of 1,700 round per minute. "It is not a hunting weapon."

    Fleury and the club also were indicted on four counts each of furnishing a machine gun to a minor. Bennett said prosecutors know of at least four children,



    including Christopher, who fired the automatic weapons. The club faces a fine of up to $10,000 for each violation.
    Fleury, Guiffre and Spano did not immediately return calls for comment. A man who answered the phone at the club said he was a member; he refused to identify himself and said no one wanted to talk.

    The machine gun shoot drew hundreds of people to the sporting club's 375-acre compound. An advertisement said it would include machine gun demonstrations and rentals and free handgun lessons.

    "It's all legal & fun -- No permits or licenses required!!!!" reads the ad, posted on the club's Web site.

    "You will be accompanied to the firing line with a Certified Instructor to guide you. But You Are In Control -- "FULL AUTO ROCK & ROLL," the ad said.

    However, Bennett said Christopher with a 15-year-old who was familiar with guns -- not a certified instructor -- when he was shot. That boy will not be charged, Bennett said.

    The ad also said children under 16 would be admitted free, and both adults and children were offered free .22-caliber pistol and rifle shooting.

    Bennett said Christopher's father, Charles Bizilj, selected the compact weapon for his 4-foot-3, 66-pound son to fire after he was assured it was safe. The father was not charged because he was a layman and based his decision on information from others who should have known it was too dangerous, Bennett said.

    Bizilj has said his son had experience firing handguns and rifles but the gun show was his first time with an automatic weapon.

    The family did not immediately return a call for comment.

    "Although it might appear a heavier or longer weapon would be more dangerous, the small size of the weapon together with the rapid rate of fire made it more likely that an 8 year old would lose control and the muzzle of the weapon would come close to his face, which is what happened here," he said.

    Fleury has been on sick leave since the accident, according to Kim Leahey, administrative aide for the Pelham Board of Selectmen.

    Leahey said the board would have no statement on the indictment until it consults its attorneys.

    Fleury is one of two full time officers in Pelham. In a statement issued shortly after the accident, the board said Fluery's company was a "purely personal pursuit" and not subject to their approval.
  2. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Green Bay Wisconsin
    Stupid people do stupid things.

    There was a boy in Texas who had a 454 Casull stick the sight blade fatally into his forhead. He had been pestering his uncle to let him shoot the gun, and the uncle gave in.

    I just wonder if it had been ATV's or pitching machines or liquor if charges would have been filed.

  3. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Oxford MA

    "There was no good reason to let a young boy handel that gun. there is no reason for a small boy to drive a powerfull 4 wheeler."

    This is just a question not an attack. You made a comparison not directly but by including the 4 wheeler it ends up as a comparison.

    In the case of the ATV 4 wheeler most young children(the age bracket that is in that article)first drive and ATV because it belongs to one of their parents. Most people today will not allow a neighbors child to drive their unit unless the parent is present and say sure go ahead.

    So if little Johnny is on Dads ATV and has an accident and ends up dead who is responsible. Is it Dad or the manufacturer the land owner where the accident occurred? Who?

    This unfortunate accident with the automatic weapon has a gun involved so everyone and his brother is being charged. It say the club is being charged it does not say how many from the club. But I would figure all of the officers and BOD.

    Yet it say his father was 10 feet behind him and reaching for his camera when the child fired. Now ask yourself a question if it were your son who was 8 years old and about to fire a fully automatic weapon would you be 10 feet away and screwing around with your camera????

    Why is Daddy not being charged in this incident he had to give his consent. Or is he so stupid that he feels his 8 year old child is mature enough to make his own decisions

    I think it a witch hunt to dump responsibility on gun people and make them look guilty of a crime.
  4. Gold E

    Gold E TS Member

    Sep 22, 2006
    Perhaps someone with a legal background could fill in some blanks in this matter. Would the DA move for an indictment without someone (perhaps the family) pressing charges?

    I fail to understand how an 8 year old was allowed to even hold a weapon, any weapon, obviously loaded, without immediate adult supervision. Daddy may be living a parent’s worst nightmare, but that doesn’t let him off the hook.

    Daddy gets to move to the top of the list of idiots in a scenario for which we’ll all get to pay. Talk about an anti-gunner’s dream come true.
  5. wireguy

    wireguy TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    The article says the kid's dad was assured it was safe. That means he inquired. He was ignorant of the facts of automatic firearm recoil, checked with people he trusted who represented themselves as experts, and was told it was safe. Given his level of ignorance he did perform a measure of due diligence. What he should have done was shoot the thing himself first. The real failure was in the planning of this event. It appears the people who put it on were zealous fools who didn't have qualified instructors for each shooter. Had they done so the kid never would have been allowed to shoot. Allowing a 15 year old as an instructor or qualifying expert? Not for my 8 year old. Fifteen year old boys are more zealous than expert. This falls under the heading of tragedy. There is no perfection in this world and there will always be a conjoining of foolishness, ignorance, and zealousness at rare junctures that adds up to tragedy.
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