Investigators say 19-year-old Melissa Ringhardt brought a handgun with her because she was scared of being home alone.
Authorities in Southeast Texas are charging a babysitter with abandonment after a child in her care fatally shot himself with her handgun while she was napping.
Orange County Chief Deputy Sheriff Clint Hodgkinson said Tuesday that 19-year-old Melissa Ringhardt was babysitting a 5-year-old and 6-month-old in a home in Vidor, about 90 miles east of Houston.
The sheriff's office told NBC News that Ringhard, who lives with the boy's family, left her semiautomatic .40-caliber handgun on a coffee table while she took a nap in a bedroom. When she awoke, she found the 5-year-old boy dead in the living room with a gunshot wound, the sheriff's office said.
Ringhardt then carried both children about a block to her grandparents home to call 911, NBC News reported.
The home they were in did not have a telephone.
Authorities said Ringhardt had the handgun with her because she was scared of being home alone.
Ringhardt will be charged with abandoning or endangering a child, a felony. She's being held pending bond.
If convicted, she could face six months to two years in prison.
Ringhardt did not have a listed phone number.