Boy, 5, kills himself with gun left on coffee table by teenage babysitterBy Mason White 11:53 AM October 24, 2013
|Melissa Ann Ringhardt|
By: John Roberts
A teenager was arrested on Tuesday, and charged in the death of a five-year-old child in Texas.
The boy accidentally fired the weapon which belonged to the teenager while she was napping, authorities said.
Melissa Ann Ringhardt, 19, of Vidor, who lives with the child’s family, was babysitting at the time of the incident. She left her .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol on a coffee table.
Ringhardt went to take a nap while the 5-year-old and a 6-month-old baby, were in her care. When she awoke, she did not immediately find the boy identified as John Read.
She finally discovered him in the living room dead from a gunshot wound. The 6-month-old was not injured.
Ringhardt told investigators that she had the gun because she was afraid of being home alone.
“People have the right to bear arms, and with that comes great responsibility,” Orange County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson said. “If someone puts a gun in a place where a child is able to get the weapon, they have committed a crime,” he said.
Ringhardt was arrested and charge of abandoning/endangering a child.
Her bond was set at $250,000.