Man leaves 5-year-old girl in desert with .45, says ‘shoot any bad guys’

Paul Armand Rater

A 53-year-old man is facing felony charges after he left his 5-year-old granddaughter alone in the desert with a loaded .45-caliber handgun and instructed her to “shoot any bad guys” while he went to grab a cheeseburger and some drinks.

Paul Armand Rater apparently left his home in Buckeye, about 30 miles outside of Phoenix, with the little girl Sunday afternoon, but along the way, Rater’s truck broke down and the two began walking. When the girl started to complain about walking, Rater left her sitting under a tree with the gun.

The girl was reported missing about four hours after Rater left his home, but was eventually located by her mother and an off-duty firefighter. The girl was still holding the gun when they found her.

Rater, who now faces felony charges for child abuse and child endangerment, was later located at a store where he admitted to leaving the girl.

[ The Guardian ]