Family friend was reloading after killing a snake. A 9-year-old got shot in the back

9-year-old Keegan Covington remains in serious condition after being shot
9-year-old Keegan Covington remains in serious condition after being shot Courtesy

Family members and friends of a 9-year-old boy from Roscoe, Texas are asking for support after he was shot in the back .

Keegan Covington was in serious condition Tuesday after what police are calling an accidental shooting on a family friend's ranch near Sweetwater, about 80 miles southeast of Lubbock, according to KCBD.

The boy's family released this statement to the station Monday: "We would like to thank the community for their support and encouragement. At this time and ask everyone for their continued thoughts and prayers for our sweet boy. We ask for and appreciate the privacy while Keegan recovers."

The bullet that hit Covington entered through Covinigton's back and pierced both his lungs, according to a Facebook page set up by family members.

It happened Saturday. Covington and a family friend were riding a four-wheeler when the friend, who has not been named by authorities, shot and killed a nonvenomous snake on the property.

Update!! 1030am June 12 Dr just called and said it went good! Repaired the hole in right lung and didn’t have to take...

Posted by Prayers for Keegan Covington on Tuesday, June 12, 2018

As that friend reloaded the 9 mm handgun used to kill the snake, the gun went off, according to KLBK, striking Covington in the back.

The boy is being treated for his wounds at Covenant Children's Hospital in Lubbock, according to the station. He was airlifted to the hospital and went into cardiopulmonary arrest on the way while being transported, according to KCBD, but family members now say that he is no longer in danger of lasting brain damage.

Fisher County Sheriff Allan Arnwine told KTXS that the shooting is being investigated as an accident, and no arrests have been made.

But he also acknowledged that alcohol could have been a factor in the shooting and confirmed that the family friend who was reloading the gun was an adult.

The hole in Covington's right lung had been repaired as of Tuesday morning, according to a post from the Facebook group updating followers on the boy's status. A GoFundMe account set up for Covington had raised nearly $1,200 of its $10,000 goal at the time.

Most accidental child shootings could be prevented if gun owners properly secured their weapons with a gun lock, Louisville gun safety activist Luther Brown says.