Grandfather tells 5-year-old girl: 'Shoot any bad guys' before leaving her alone in desert with gun

Man Leaves Granddaughter in the Desert With a Gun
Man Leaves Granddaughter in the Desert With a Gun

Police in Arizona arrested a grandfather after he allegedly left his 5-year-old granddaughter stranded in the desert with a loaded gun.

The man also reportedly left the girl with the instructions to, "shoot any bad guys," according to The Guardian.

%shareLinks-quote="Paul Armand Rater was arrested and booked on suspicion of two counts of felony child abuse as well as one count of felony child endangerment. " type="spreadWord"%

Law officials say the 53-year-old took the girl from their Buckeye home in a pickup truck on Sunday afternoon. She was reported missing soon after.

The girl's mother and an off-duty firefighter eventually found the 5-year-old in a desert holding a loaded and cocked .45-caliber handgun.

%shareLinks-quote="She was given the gun and told to shoot any bad guys ... I don't know how a 5-year-old can tell a good guy from a bad guy but that's what she said she was told." type="quote" author="Joe Arpaio" authordesc="Maricopa County Sheriff" isquoteoftheday="false"%

Sheriff's deputies later found Rater at a store. According to court documents, the 53-year-old told them he left the girl under a tree after his truck broke down and the girl complained she couldn't walk any more.

The grandfather admitted to giving his granddaughter the gun, the sheriff's office said, "while he went out for a few drinks and a cheeseburger."

The sheriff's office added that the girl was reunited with her mother and state welfare authorities were alerted to the incident.

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