Denarrius Langston was airlifted to Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville, Monday morning.
Deputies say the boy's mother, Judy, had apparently left her .25-caliber pistol in her a purse, which was left on a chair in the family's living room.
They say the boy may have mistaken the weapon for a toy gun he likes to play with. It was fired one time. His parents say in the past, Denarrius, had been scolded for going into his mother's purse.
Julie Briggs, Denarrius' 13-year-old sister, is praying her brother will pull through.
"I would tell him to stay strong, and that I love him, and I'll be there for him," she says.
Deputies say the boy was just a few feet from his mother when he found the gun.
Doctors told the family Denarrius has a strong heart beat -- a good sign. He remains in intensive care.
No charges have been filed at this time.
In an unrelated event, Wilson County deputies are giving away gun locks to residents at their new substation in Elm City Monday. andMichelle Singer