AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– A 9-year-old boy is recovering after he was accidentally shot by another child.

“Poor little thing. He didn’t know whether he was coming or going. He just kept falling back. He said, ‘I’m tired.’ No, I know you’re not supposed to lay down and go to sleep. Not when you’re bleeding like that,” witness Melinda Johnson said.

Johnson says it was a hectic scene after the child was shot in the leg, but the quick thinking and gentle words of a community coming together helped to comfort and save the boy’s life. 

“Police asked him, ‘Do you believe in God?’ He said, ‘Yes sir, I do.’ I said, ‘All you’ve got to do is pray,'” Johnson said.

According to Deputy Nicholas McGruder, the boy’s wound was significant, taking three tourniquets to stop the bleeding.

But Deputy McGruder says he, fellow first responders, and neighbors kept the child calm as EMTs arrived on the scene.

“She was kind of praying over the child, praying in his ear to keep him distracted while we were tending to him. Asking him does he believe in God, does he believe in heaven, how often does he pray, and then singing little hymnals and songs to him,” Deputy McGruder said.

An entire neighborhood coming together to calm the boy was a sight Deputy McGruder says he will never forget.

“It means a lot to me. It’s very positive. Especially to see a community come together and render aid, to give love and give care and attention in such a positive manner,” Deputy McGruder said.

Deputy McGruder says despite his injury, the child responded with gratitude and grace.

“At one point he thanked everybody for being here helping him and God bless us all. That was something definitely special to hear from someone his age, somebody so young,” Deputy McGruder said.

Deputy McGruder says his dream to help his hometown is one of the reasons he became a deputy in the first place.

“To see it first hand it, it lets me know that I am making a difference. That’s the goal, to help the youth, to help their growth, and to let them know that we’re always here for them in a positive nature,” Deputy McGruder said.