5 Year Old Texas Child Kills Himself With Gun Belonging to Babysitter
A 19-year-old Texas woman was arrested Tuesday after a 5-year-old child she was babysitting accidentally shot himself with a gun while she napped.
Orange County Sheriff’s Office officials say Melissa Ann Ringhardt of Vidor, who lives with the boy’s family, left her .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun on a coffee table while she napped in another room Monday. When Ringhardt woke up, she noticed that she couldn't see or hear John Read, the young boy left in her care. She eventually found him dead in the living room with a fatal gunshot wound.
Another 6-month-old child also in her care was not harmed. Ringhardt carried both children to their grandparent’s home a block away to seek help.
Ringhardt told police she had the gun because she was anxious being home alone. Orange County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Clinton Hodgkinson told a local news affiliate that’s no excuse for her irresponsible behavior.
"People have the right to bear arms, and with that comes great responsibility," Hodgkinson told KFDM-TV of Beaumont. "If someone, somehow, puts a firearm in a place where a child is able to get that weapon, you've committed an offense."
Ringhardt has been arrested and faces a felony charge of abandoning or endangering a child. Her bond has been set at $250,000, and she could serve six months to two years in prison if convicted.