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Old December 31, 2008, 01:37 PM   #1
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Police chief and Uzi owners indicted for Invol Manslaughter in death of 8 yr old boy


Mass. Gun Club, 3 Men Indicted in Boy's Uzi Death
Stephanie Reitz
Associated Press
2008 Dec 4
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- A police chief was among three men indicted on involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of an 8-year-old boy who accidentally shot himself in the head with an Uzi at a gun show.

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 Oct. 26 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.

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.

Christopher's father, Charles Bizilj, has said his son had experience firing handguns and rifles but the gun show was his first time with an automatic weapon. A certified instructor was with the boy at the time.

The family did not immediately return a call for comment.
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Old January 2, 2009, 09:16 AM   #2
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Yes, there should be some fallout from this, like the first 3 paragraphs. After that is just propoganda.
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Old January 2, 2009, 10:32 AM   #3
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i imagine this is one of those situations where technicalities of the law and immoral people in charge screw over innocent folks.
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Old January 2, 2009, 10:40 AM   #4
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There certainly should be some consequences to for those involved in this. There was a lot of negligence.
Not a fan of them pointing out it is not a hunting gun, because that is entirely irrelevant. Like MisterPX says, first three paragraphs are good the next ten are propaganda.
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Old January 9, 2009, 02:36 PM   #5
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so this is the aftermath...
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Old January 9, 2009, 03:03 PM   #6
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It was a terrible tragedy. My thoughts are with the boy's family.

On good old wikipedia (not the best legal resource, I know), involuntary manslaughter is described as:

wanton disregard for the known dangers of a particular situation.
They gave an 8-year-old boy a Micro-Uzi. The instructor apparently did not keep his hands on the gun to control the recoil. The "instructor" was not a certified firearms instructor, but instead a 15-year-old boy. It sure seems to me that this may well rise to the level of "wanton disregard."

The Chief was running the event, so I think it makes sense for him to be charged. It isn't clear to me of the owners of the gun were present or if they just supplied the gun to the Chief. If they just supplied the gun to the Chief, then I don't think they should be charged.

In addition to the manslaughter charge, they are being charged with violating MA gun laws. The MA laws are rather murky when it comes to minors shooting guns. My attorney describes this portion of the law as being "unsettled." Minors shooting guns is addressed in three different, contradictory sections of the Massachusetts General Laws.

One law prohibits "furnishing" a minor a machine gun: but doesn't define "furnishing."

Another section of the law appears to allow anyone to fire a handgun, rifle or shotgun while under instruction of a licensed individual. This section is silent on age and on machine guns:

A third section allows minors to participate in target practice, but is silent on the type of gun or guns allowed:

The defendants get to be the test case.
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Old January 9, 2009, 03:26 PM   #7
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The organizers and "experts" running this disaster are directly culpable for that boy's death. When a parent who is curious about firearms takes his son to a public shoot run by the Chief of Police and with range officers overseeing and instructing there is no reason the uninformed on firearms parent should expect anything less than a well run and safe experience.
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Old February 7, 2009, 09:04 PM   #8
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This was a terrible, one-time, lapse of judgement. But I believe it will become fodder for anti-gun forces to cynically further their crusade.
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Old February 8, 2009, 02:24 AM   #9
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The parent in this case a doctor hired these men for money to assist his too young son to fire a weapon that any reasonable person would not give to a kid of this stature. The parent is just a guilty for not showing any common sense.
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Old February 8, 2009, 04:22 AM   #10
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Many things would be considered tragic accidents and the heart broken people involved wouldn't be prosecuted. But not if it involves a gun and it's in Massachusetts.
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Old February 8, 2009, 01:13 PM   #11
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The parent in this case a doctor hired these men for money to assist his too young son to fire a weapon that any reasonable person would not give to a kid of this stature. The parent is just a guilty for not showing any common sense.
I disagree. What is common sense to you and I about firearms is not common sense to someone who doesn't know anything about firearms. The father has said that he doesn't know anything about guns and thought that the smaller micro Uzi would be easier for his son to handle. You and I know better, but he did not. You and I have training and experience. He does not.

He was lead to believe that instructors would be supervising the shooters. His reasonable expectation was that these instructors would use their superior knowledge and training, and exercise proper judgment to keep his son safe. They did not.

I am a certified instructor. I've done similar shoots (but not with full-auto firearms) and have instructed children. In our shoots, the parents were not physically on the firing line -- we keep all spectators at least 10 feet behind the line. The parents are not certified instructors. I was the one with the technical knowledge. I was the one with instructor certification. I was the one standing right next to their child. It was my responsibility to take reasonable measures to ensure safety, not the parents.
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Old February 8, 2009, 09:44 PM   #12
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This dagger is sharp on both edges.
As a progun no restrictions to public needed guy I think this is a nightmare. It has birthed antis & put fuel on the anti fire.
As a parent and a youth shooting instructor I want to puke. First I instruct 8year olds and I can tell you they need one on one with singleshot longguns to learn selfdisalpine. Not fullauto handgun photos with 15yr old instructors. The dad was wanting that photo to show "Look at my kid" first he should have known better. Would you let your 8yr old go down the Interstate on a fullsized Harly alone. Dad's first job is to keep his kid safe no excuses. Second the instructor on any FA at a public shoot should not be a minor. No matter how much trigger time they have it is a no brainor. Third Chief of Police, a chief cook and bottle washer would have more common sence than to let this happen on his/her watch.
This is a terrible thing and no matter what the outcome in the eyes of the law, the boy is gone and nothing can fix it,
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Old February 9, 2009, 06:51 AM   #13
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This was a terrible, one-time, lapse of judgement.
Nice wishful thinking, but wrong. This was not the only kid they left control a fully automatic weapon at the shoot where the kid had full control of all aspects of the gun, or in this case, lack of control of all aspects.

This was just the only kid that got killed.

That isn't to say there aren't venues where kids can fire fully automatic weapons and do so in a safe manner, but this wasn't one of them.
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