VIDEO: South East Texas 5-year-old shoots, kills self while baby sitter slept

POSTED: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 1:50pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 2:00pm

Melissa Ringhardt, 19, is in the Orange County jail charged with endangering a child. This, after she told authorities she left a gun accessible to 5 year-old John Allen Read, whom she was baby-sitting Monday, Angel San Juan has more.

It's a tragedy that's shocked a neighborhood, the death of a 5 year-old boy who got hold of a semi-automatic 40 caliber pistol and shot himself in the head.

Kevin Clark is a neighbor to the boy's parents, Kayla and Joe Read, "They were completely just destroyed, naturally."

John Allen Read's death left many questions, Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson, Orange County Sheriff's Office, "How this child get this weapon? Where did it come from?"

The answers would come from baby-sitter Melissa Ringhardt, John Allen and his 6 month-old sibling had been left in the care of the Ringhardt, investigators say she took the family's gun out of the safe, Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson, "we do know there is a gun in the house and she was able to get the gun."

Ringhardt told authorities she got the gun because she felt unsafe home alone Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson, "She had already had the pistol on her throughout that day and had set it down on the coffee table, then went down to take a nap."

That's when John Allen grabbed the gun and fatally shot himself. Ringhardt found him dead in the living room, her actions led to her arrest Tuesday afternoon.

She's at the Orange County jail, where authorities say she's cooperating but showing no emotions, Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson, "She just looks calm at this point. I don't know if it's a state of shock or what this kind of somber state on her. She just seems very calm."


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