Valley boy, 3, in coma after being shot in the eye

FRESNO, Calif.

Right now the /*Jaiyden Saelee*/ is in critical condition at Children's Hospital Central California.

His family said he is facing a long road to recovery after being shot in the eye with a pellet gun last Saturday.

Jaiyden's family said he's in a medically-induced coma so doctors can work to reduce brain swelling. At this point the family said it's not placing blame for what happened since it's likely Jaiyden will be in that coma for weeks.

Family members said Jaiyden is a strong-willed little boy. He will need to be after being shot in the eye with a pellet gun. "I just gotta have faith in God that he'll make it," Patricia Riley, Jaiyden's grandmother, said. "He just has to make it."

The Merced County Sheriff's Department said the shooting happened Saturday evening at Jaiyden's father's home on Highway 59 near Bellevue in Merced County.

Jaiyden's older cousins and adult family members were shooting cans with the pellet gun outside the home. Patricia Riley said a 17-year-old cousin was called inside the house and set the pellet gun down.

"So, he set the gun down forgetting that he pumped it," Riley said. "So the 3-year-old cousin of my grandson picked up the gun on one end, and my grandson on the other end… curious. My grandson looked at it and it went off."

Riley said Jaiyden has had several surgeries since Saturday. He may lose vision in one eye and may be paralyzed. Fragments of the pellet are still lodged in his brain.

"His skull is open," she said. "They couldn't get the drainage out the other way to relieve the pressure. So they had to open his skull, and it's left exposed."

That's something his 17-year-old cousin feels guilty about. "He's very devastated, because they were so close," Riley said.

Betty Riley, Jaiyden's great grandmother, is among the family members now rotating their visits, hoping Jaiyden pulls through his injuries. "I'm hoping because he's young and he's strong and he'll get through this," Betty said.

Merced sheriff's officials said they will turn over a report on this shooting to the district attorney's office. The DA will decide who, if anyone, will be charged.

In the meantime, the family has set up a fund to help Jaiyden's parents cover the cost of staying near Children's Hospital.

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