Man accused of leaving 5-year-old granddaughter alone with loaded gun in desert

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Paul Rater accused of leaving 5-year-old alone with loaded shotgun.

MARICOPA CO., Ariz. — A grandfather was arrested after reportedly leaving his young granddaughter alone in the desert with a loaded gun.

ABC15 reports Paul Rater, 62, and the 5-year-old girl left his home Sunday to go for a ride. About four hours later, they were reported missing.

The little girl was found by a firefighter who was on an ATV. She had a loaded and cocked .45 caliber handgun.

“He told her it was to shoot the bad guys. How does a 5-year-old know the difference between good guys and bad guys?” Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.

Rater was found about 10 miles away at a bar having drinks and a cheeseburger. He told authorities he walked for hours to get help after his truck broke down.

Authorities said, however, that Rater never asked for help or mentioned his granddaughter.

He now faces child abuse and child endangerment charges.

Read more here.