Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Friday, June 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

8-Year-Old Boy Was Shot to Death|at Machinegun Show, Parents Say

BOSTON (CN) - An 8 year-old boy was shot to death at a machinegun show while supervised by a 15-year-old boy, the child's parents say. The mom and dad say the teen-ager loaded the 9mm Uzi machinegun and twice had to clear jams, then handed it back to their 8-year-old son, who dropped it and it shot him in the head.

The Oct. 26, 2008 gun show at the Westfield Sportsman's Club in Westfield, Mass., "was billed as a Machine Gun Show and Firearms Expo, called the 'Great New England Pumpkin Shoot,'" according to the federal complaint.

One of the organizers of the show, defendant Ed Fleury, is the police chief of Pelham, Mass., according to the complaint.

Charles and Suzanne Bizilj say their son Christopher died at the show. The father says he "purchased the opportunity for his son ... to fire a Micro Uzi 9mm automatic weapon" at the show.

"No license or permit was required by the Expo sponsors, participants and defendants named herein for patrons to purchase ammunition for the firearms, nor to use the weapons," according to the complaint.

The parents say the young "line officer," Michael Spano, ordered the father "to stay clear of the area and was required to stand behind restraining ropes."

Spano loaded the weapon, handed it to their son, and had to clear jams twice, the parents say. Each time he handed it back to Christopher.

The parents say their son "placed his fingers on the trigger mechanism of the weapon and attempted to raise the Micro Uzi 9mm to his shoulder. The stock of the weapon slipped down from the decedent's shoulder and the barrel of same spun upward. The decedent attempted to prevent the weapon from falling, and in doing so, the Micro Uzi 9mm discharged." Christopher was shot in the head and died.

The parents say the gun show organizers should have known it is illegal in Massachusetts to give a child a weapon and that Spano "was not adequately trained to supervise the firing of automatic weapons."

They say the defendants were "grossly negligent in failing to properly maintain the Micro Uzi 9mm machine gun," as shown by its repeated jamming.

The parents sued the Sportsman's Club; Edward Fleury, who sponsored the gun show, and his company, COP Firearms & Training, of Amherst; Provost Precision Pistols, of Weatogue, Conn.; D&T Arms, of New Milford, Conn.; Domenico Spano, of New Milford; Carl Giuffre, who allegedly owned the Uzi and was one of the "'renters' at the Expo," according to the complaint.

The Bizilj family seeks damages for wrongful death. They are represented by Bruce Melikian with Hurley & Melikian of Springfield, Mass.

Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.