RED BANK, TN. (WRCB)-- Kristi Peckinpaugh doesn't know whether to cry for, or scream at, her son Matthew.

"He's 15 years old! He should have enough sense not to do something like this," she says.

"This" happened outside the Peckinpaugh's four-plex apartment at Memorial & Lyndon in Red Bank just before 3:00 AM Saturday.

"They said they was playing with a gun," Kristi says.

"Sounded like they were pointing it at each other," Red Bank Police Sgt. Dan Knight says.

"They said they was playing Russian roulette," Kristi says. "That's what I was told."

"There was another juvenile that actually had the gun," Sgt. Knight says. "He was the one who fired the shot that hit the victim."

In either case, one round from a small caliber revolver hit Matthew.

"Right here about his temple," Kristi says. "It went in. He's got a bullet inside his head!"

Medical privacy laws prevent officials at Erlanger Medical Center from disclosing specifics regarding Matthew Peckinpaugh's injuries or treatment. He's listed in fair condition. Kristi Peckinpaugh says he's talking and eating. She's hopeful that he'll be released Monday night or Tuesday.

Police believe the shooter took off running down Lyndon Avenue. He and his family haven't been seen since.

"We went to the house that night and they were gone," Sgt. Knight says. "His mother told us she hasn't seen the boy in a month. We've gone to several locations to try to find him and they say he's trying to stay away from us."

The suspect is 17 years old. His juvenile status means police can't tell us who he is, only that they know him by reputation.

"I believe he has theft and burglary charges on him," Sgt. Knight says.

"I've seen him in the neighborhood, but I don't know him," Kristi says.

"Biggest thing is, bring us the gun, let's get the gun off the street," Sgt.Knight says.

Kristi says she and Matthew's grandfather tried locking him in at night.

"He sneaks out his bedroom window. Takes the air conditioner out."

Neither she, nor police, can explain why her son and his friends can't seem to grasp the obvious:

"Don't play with guns," Sgt. Knight says. "Don't put your life in your hands! You just don't do that!."