5-year-old Texas boy accidentally shoots himself with babysitter's gun

On Tuesday, Melissa Ann Ringhardt of Vidor, Texas was arrested in connection with the death of a 5-year-old boy she was babysitting. The little boy, John Read, accidentally shot himself with Melissa's gun while she was napping. How does something like that happen? The 19-year-old babysitter who lives with the boy's family left her her semiautomatic .40-caliber handgun on a coffee table while she went to take a nap in a bedroom. When she woke up, she found the little boy dead in the living room. Horrible!


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The home where this happened has no phone, so Ringhardt had to carry John and an unidentified 6-month-old baby that she was also watching to his grandparents' home to call 911. John was pronounced dead when emergency personnel arrived.

Ringhart is being charged with abandoning or endangering a child. If convicted, she faces a sentence of six months to two years in prison. She told authorities that she had the gun with her because she was afraid of being home alone.

This is just awful. I'm sure she didn't intend to kill the child, but her carelessness caused his death to happen. How many times do these kinds of accidents have to happen? And why was she asleep when she was supposed to be caring for two kids!?

Orange County sherriff's Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson told media:"Sometimes, it takes something like this--as tragic as it is--for people to reflect on those things, and these are the opportunities you take ... to say, 'Look, what could we have done?'" The problem is that this gun safety issue seems to be a lesson that we have to keep learning over and over at the cost of children's lives.

Image via Orange County, Texas, Sheriff's Office

Topics: gun safety  death  children