A small-town Massachusetts police chief who authorities say promoted, organized, and profited from a firearms exposition where children were encouraged to shoot machine guns and where an 8-year-old killed himself with a Micro Uzi was charged yesterday with involuntary manslaughter, reports the Boston Globe. Although the event was promoted as an opportunity for children to fire machine guns under the supervision of certified instructors, 8-year-old Christopher K. Bizilj had been supervised by a 15-year-old boy who was “knowledgeable about guns” but not certified as a firearms instructor, Hampden District Attorney William Bennett of charges against Pelham Police Chief Edward Fleury and two others.
The Oct. 26 death horrified the region and provoked outcry from parents, lawmakers, and some gun enthusiasts, who condemned it as a senseless tragedy. Fleury, Pelham’s police chief of 22 years, was singled out as the central force behind the expo. He organized it through a business he ran and marketed it in advertisements that said that the $5 entry fee was waived for children under age 16 and that there was “no age limit or licenses required to shoot machine guns.”