Family members say a single bullet struck Tyshawn Grant in the back and traveled through to his chest.
"I just don't understand why people would just do anything like this," said Patricia Island, Grant's grandmother. "He ain't nothing but an 11-year-old child. He's not in no gang. So it's not gang related. He's just a typical child just playing on a nice day, having fun. And he ends up getting shot."
Relatives say Grant was out looking for snakes with some friends when a gunman nearby opened fire. Police are unclear who the target may have been.
"Some boys with some bandanas came and said something to them. And just shot him. I don't know. But whoever did it, even if it was a mistake, turn yourself in," said Island.
Grant, a fifth grader at the Nicholson School, is involved in a neighborhood church where leaders say they tried to keep him and other boys and girls safe from the violence on the streets.
"He's been in our summer outreach programs and been in our summer day camp programs, has very well," said Bishop Ed Peecher, Chicago Embassy Church.
"Growing up nowadays, it seems like it hurts to grow up to be a child which it shouldn't be," said Andrew Holmes, community activist.
Grant's family says he enjoys football, basketball and other typical activities that 11-year-olds like. Doctors, however, say it may be sometime before he's able to return to those activities. They expect him to spend at least the next several days at the hospital.