Today in terrible parenting news, a grandfather in Arizona has been arrested after being accused of abandoning his 5-year-old granddaughter alone in the desert with a gun and the (pretty vague) instructions to “shoot any bad guys.”
“Paul Armand Rater, 53, was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail in downtown Phoenix on suspicion of two counts of felony child abuse and one count of felony child endangerment stemming from the incident on Sunday night,” The Guardian reports.
“Deputies said he and the child left their home in Buckeye, about 30 miles (48km) west of Phoenix, in a pickup truck early on Sunday afternoon and that the girl was reported missing four hours later.”
The little girl was reportedly later found by her mother and an off-duty firefighter, and was holding the gun when she was discovered.
When police found Rater, he explained that his “vehicle had broken down and that he had left the girl under a tree in the desert because she was complaining she could not walk any more.” Rater also reportedly stopped for a drink and a hamburger.
“I don’t know how a five-year-old can tell a good guy from a bad guy, but that’s what she said she was told,” Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said afterwards.
Child protective services have been contacted.