Oct. 27, 2008 — -- With his father and a firearms instructor standing nearby, an 8-year-old Connecticut boy shot himself in the head with a submachine gun yesterday, killing himself in an accident some say should never have happened.
Christopher Bizilj was testing a 9 mm Micro Uzi at the Westfield Sportsman's Club in Westfield, Mass., as part of the Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo, when he shot himself Sunday.
"The firearm instructor prepped the weapon for him, and once it was ready he handed it to the child," Westfield Police Lt. Hipolito Nunez told ABCNews.com today.
Christopher then pulled the trigger, and the gun's recoil pulled the barrel upward, causing a round to hit him on the right side of his head, according Nunez. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Baystate Medical Center in nearby Springfield.
Massachusetts law allows a child to fire a gun with parental consent, so long as there's an active permit for the gun and a licensed firearm instructor is supervising. It is unclear whether the gun had a permit or whether the instructor was licensed, but Nunez said Christopher's father was nearby.
Christopher's family, including his father, Dr. Charles Bizilj, who is the director of emergency medicine at Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford Springs, Conn., could not be reached for comment.
But according to Ted Oven, a gun retailer and president of the Massachusetts Association of Firearms Dealers, Christopher should have never been allowed to handle a submachine gun on his own.
Oven has shot similar weapons and said the recoil is tough to control even for an adult.
"It requires all my strength," said Oven, who added that he did not have much experience with the Micro Uzi. "For an 8-year-old, it was inappropriate."
The Micro Uzi, he said, is a tough gun to get a permit for and retails for several thousand dollars. He was not at the expo when Christopher was shot but said that because the gun is fully automatic, it likely shot off several rounds in a couple of seconds when the boy pulled the trigger.
Information found on Uzitalk.com, an Internet forum dedicated to the Israeli-made submachine guns, described the Micro Uzi as coming on the market in 1986 and having the capability to fire 25 rounds in less than 30 seconds. The guns, manufactured by Israeli Military Industries Ltd., are generally designed for military and police use.