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Parents file $4 million Massachusetts wrongful death lawsuit over 8-year-old’s fatal machine gun accident

The parents of 8-year-old Christopher K. Bizilj are suing seven defendants for their son’s wrongful death. Christopher died after a Micro Uzi machine gun he was holding accidentally discharged last October at a Westfield gun fair. Charles D. and Suzanne M. Bizilj and their son Colin, 11, are suing for $4 million.

The defendants named in the Massachusetts wrongful death complaint are COP Firearms & Training, the Westfield Sportsman’s Club Inc., Edward Fleury, Carl Giuffre, Provost Precision Pistols LLC, Domenico J. Spano, and D & T Arms LLC. Giuffre, Fleury, and Spano have also been charged in criminal court over the fatal accident.

Per the Massachusetts wrongful death lawsuit, Charles Bizilj bought Christopher a turn at firing the machine gun at the “Great New England Pumpkin Shoot”.” Spano brought the weapon, which belongs to Guiffre, to the expo that COP Firearms & Training and the Westfield Sportsman’s Club were sponsoring. Fleury, who owns COP Firearms & Training and at the time was Pelham police chief, hired Spano and Guiffre as expo “renters.”

The complaint claims that Spano’s son Michael, 15, was in charge of loading the gun. He gave the gun to the 8-year-old and told him how to use it. The weapon jammed twice. Michael cleared the gun.

As Christopher tried lifting the gun, the stock slid down, the barrel spun up, and the weapon went off while the young boy tried not to drop it. He sustained fatal head injuries.

The Biziljs contend that the Uzi submachine gun was defective, dangerous, and not properly serviced.

Massachusetts law makes it illegal to furnish minors with machine guns.

Event facilitators and the owners of the property where the function is taking place can be held liable for Massachusetts personal injury or wrongful death if there is an unsafe condition or a hazard on the premise that could/should have been remedied and the failure to do so caused or contributed to the injury or death.

Gun death spurs $4 million suit, Amherst Bulletin, November 13, 2009
Family Sues over Boy’s Death at Massachusetts Gun Show, Insurance Journal, November 11, 2009
Related Web Resources:
look at gun expo flyer, WBZ (PDF)

Wrongful Death, Justia