HAMILTON COUNTY, TN. (WRCB) -- Just days before Christmas, a Harrison family is gathered at Erlanger, waiting for good news.

Their 2-year old was shot while playing with his grandfather's gun.

The boy was rushed into emergency surgery.

All neighbors can do is wait, pray and hope gun owners are paying attention.

Flashing blue lights illuminated River Stream Road as Yvonne Swafford watched police tape off her neighbor's yard.

"We just waited to see what had happened, and then that's when we saw the small boy come out on the stretcher," Swafford says.

Hamilton County authorities say the 2-year-old boy was shot in the stomach with a .40 caliber handgun.

The firearm belonged to his grandfather.

"One of those situations where someone has their gun laying out, where a child could get to it and the child shot himself with it," Swafford says.

Swafford invited the boy's family into her home as police launched their investigation.

"They taped off their house and they didn't have anywhere to go," she says. "And at a time like this, he was so distraught."

"The child has been transported to the hospital and as we speak, is in surgery," says Janice Atkinson, with the sheriff's office.

Atkinson says it is too soon to tell what an investigation will show.

The first priority is the toddler's survival.

"We can only pray," Atkinson says.

Praying is exactly what neighbors will be doing.

"My hope is that the little boy will be just fine and everybody will just learn from it," says Swafford.

Detectives searched the home, which is standard protocol anytime there is a shooting.

Channel 3 asked if investigators believe charges could be filed.

They say it is too early into their investigation to make that determination.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.