Grandfather gives 5-year-old loaded and cocked gun in desert and walks off leaving her alone

An Arizona grandfather left his 5-year-old granddaughter in the desert after his car broke down with a gun and instructions to “shoot any bad guys,” posted WGNTV.

Paul Armand Rater, 53, was tracked down at a bar by deputies where he explained to them that the little girl was complaining about walking, so he left her under a tree and gave her the gun.  He made it into town and told the deputies he decided to have few drinks and a cheeseburger before he went back to get his granddaughter.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio told People Magazine that Rater never told anyone he left his granddaughter in the desert.

“He says his vehicle broke down so he walked several miles to get to this bar, but he went there to drink, not to get help.”

The little girl that has not been identified was reported missing by her mother from Buckeye, west of Phoenix on Sunday, when she and her grandfather did not return from a ride on the desert dry washes after four hours.  The mother and an off-duty firefighter were the first to find her, still in the desert holding a pistol in her hand, crying for help, Arpaio told People Magazine.  What is even more shocking is the gun was fully loaded and cocked.

Grandpa was booked into jail on suspicion of two counts of felony child abuse and one count of felony child endangerment.

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Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

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