Erica Rooks (pictured) left her children, ages 9 months, 2, and 4, in her car with the engine still running while she went to get her nails done at a salon. When the 23-year-old mother returned to her vehicle, she was met by Memphis police who began questioning her.
When asked about her whereabouts, Rooks reportedly lied to the officers, saying she merely ran into the salon to use the bathroom. After investigators went to the salon to question its proprietors, though, they were given a sign-in sheet that showed that Rooks had a full-service manicure.
When the officers asked Rooks for her identification, she allegedly reached inside the vehicle for her purse. Her purse reportedly had a bag of marijuana in it that she tried to quickly discard by throwing it in to her car’s center console.
An officer who had begun inspecting the vehicle noticed the marijuana, but was caught off guard by one of the toddlers who reportedly had a loaded gun in his hand and was pointing it directly at him.
Rooks was arrested and charged with three counts of abandonment, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of an unlawful firearm.
The three children have been placed in the care of an uncle, while the Department of Children and Families investigates the case.
Rooks was released Tuesday from jail on a $5,000 bond and will appear in court in early April.