PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The family of a 12-year-old boy is praying that he makes it through surgery. He was shot in the chest by his own uncle, who was showing the gun to him at a home near 19th Avenue and Buckeye Road.
The boy's mother believes the shooting was an accident, but says her brother should be held accountable for the irresponsible way he handled his gun.
12-year-old Eric is in bad shape at Phoenix Children's Hospital. He underwent emergency surgery and remains in critical condition. His mother, Erica Cantu, says the bullet tore through his chest, piercing his lungs, heart and liver.
As his family prays that he makes it, the boy's uncle is a convicted felon who wasn't even supposed to have a gun -- is in jail.
"I just heard him yelling for me and I ran out there.. he couldn't talk, he couldn't talk, he was too busy trying to breathe," said Cantu, as she described the moment she realized her son had been shot.
"He was distraught, he was going crazy, he was apologizing to my son and to me," added Cantu. "He said he was sorry, it was an accident."
29-year-old Robert Chavez was arrested and is facing two felony counts for the shooting. He told police he took the gun out to show Eric, that he thought the gun was unloaded, he tried to clear the gun and pulled the trigger. One round was still in the chamber.
"I know people think guns kill people. It's people.. dumb people.. who don't know how to be responsible. That's what kills people, that's what kills kids. We believe this was an accident," said Cantu.
Cantu says she blames her brother for the pain and suffering her son and entire family is going through and says her brother should be held accountable for his irresponsible actions.
"You have to take responsibility for your actions whether it was an accident or not, these kinds of accidents should not happen. It's just pretty simple as that," she said.
According to police, Chavez told them he knew he wasn't supposed to have a gun, but bought one about a week ago anyway. He's being held on one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
If Eric does not make it, Chavez could face an additional charge of either murder or manslaughter.