US & Canada

US police chief cleared in Bizilj Uzi shooting death

Uzi sub-machine guns
Image caption Prosecutors said the Uzi, like the one shown here, is too unstable for a boy to handle safely

A Massachusetts jury has acquitted a man who organised a gun fair where a boy accidentally shot himself dead with an Uzi sub-machine gun.

Prosecutors said Edward Fleury, a former police chief, should have foreseen the risk in providing Christopher Bizilj, 8, with the gun.

He was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter after showing the boy's father allowed him to fire the weapon.

The boy lost control of the weapon, which flipped and shot him in the head.

Mr Fleury was also acquitted on Friday on three charges of furnishing machine guns to minors.

At the trial in Springfield, in the state of Massachusetts, jurors viewed a gruesome video clip of the accident, filmed by the boy's father, Dr Charles Bizilj.

Christopher was aiming at pumpkins at the annual Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo at the Westfield Sportsman's Club in October 2008.

Prosecutors argued Mr Fleury was criminally reckless in allowing the boy to shoot the high-powered weapon, which was developed by the Israeli military. Christopher's 11-year-old brother Colin shot it without incident.

Dr Bizilj signed a waiver allowing the boys to shoot the guns but was not charged in the accident because prosecutors said that, as a layman, he had reason to trust the fair organisers' word that the activity was safe.

After the verdict, Mr Fleury said he regretted holding the machine gun event and would never do it again.

Also charged were two men who brought the weapon to the fair. They have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.

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