An 8-year-old Ashford boy armed with an Uzi, accidentally shot himself in the head Sunday at a Massachusetts gun show, police said. He died after being rushed to Baystate Medical Center.
Christopher Bizilj was firing an Uzi at the Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo at the Westfield Sportsman's Club in Westfield, Mass., when he somehow lost control of the weapon. The boy's father and older brother were also there at the time, a gun club member and school official said.
Police called the incident a "self-inflicted accidental shooting." 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."
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Francis Mitchell, a longtime member and trustee of the club, said he was told the boy's father supporting his son from behind when the accident happened.
Although the death appears to be an accident, police and the Hampden district attorney's office were investigating, officials said.
"We are going to review all the circumstance regarding what happened, who was involved, what authorities they may or may not have had, who was supervising," District Attorney William Bennett said.
Christopher was a third-grader at the Ashford School and played soccer in town, said Leonard Lanza, interim superintendent of Ashford public schools.
Christopher's brother, Colin, a sixth-grader at the same school, was with him during the accident, and crisis counselors spoke with students in both boys' classes, Lanza said.
"It's been a very nasty day for the whole community," Lanza said. "One does what one can."
It is legal in Massachusetts for children to fire a weapon if they have permission from a parent or legal guardian and 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.
The boy's father, Charles Bizilj, is director of emergency medicine at Johnson Memorial Hospital, in Stafford Springs, Conn. The hospital issued a statement of condolence but declined further comment.
Neither the club nor the show organizer have commented on the incident.