Late last month, shooting instructor Charles Vacca was tragically killed after a nine-year-old girl lost control of the automatic weapon he was showing her how to use. The 39-year-old father of four was an instructor at the Last Stop outdoor shooting range in White Hills, Arizona. Less than a month after the tragic accident, Vacca’s children have released an incredible message of love and forgiveness to the nine-year-old girl.
“Today we bring you a story of something that you never think of being good. Out of the ashes grow the roses of success,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “This is one of the most tragic things ever, not just for the man, not just for the man's family, but for the little girl. She will forever carry [that] around.”
The Vacca family’s attorneys - Marc Lamber and James Goodnow of Fennemore Craig – released the video message from the children late last week.
"We don’t know your name, but we are connected by this tragedy. In the news, we are just called ‘ the family,’ ‘the 9-year-old girl,’ ‘the instructor,’ but we do have names. Our names are Ashley, Elizabeth, Tylor and Christopher. We are Charlie Vacca’s kids. We wanted you to know something about him. Our dad wasn’t just an instructor. He was funny, strong, a protector, a hero and our friend. He was a good man.
"You’re only 9 years old. We think about you. We are worried about you. We pray for you. And we wish you peace. Our dad would want the same thing.
"Like you, we are living through this tragic event that we cannot shut off. It’s with us all the time. Our dad would want you to know that you should move forward with your life. You should not let this define you. You should love yourself and love your family. Someday we hope we can meet you, hug you and tell you that it’s okay."
“Their father is unbelievably proud of them,” Glenn said tearfully after listening to the video. “How beautiful. How remarkable.”
While the message is inspiring on its own, Glenn and Pat were particularly struck by the unbelievable maturity and courage displayed by the children in the wake of such tragedy. Furthermore, that forgiveness will hopefully, in time, ease the pain and uncertainty the nine-year-old girl is dealing with.
“To have that forgiveness, and that reaching out from that family, has to mean absolutely everything in her life right now,” Pat concluded. “That's got to be such a move of healing. They may have saved her life.”