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Community Rallies Around 2-Year-Old Allegedly Shot in Face by Dad: 'Tearing at Your Heartstrings'

People logo People 4/23/2019 KC Baker
a little boy holding a baby: Ryker © Provided by TIME Inc. Ryker

Support is pouring in from people all over the country for the 2-year-old Michigan boy who was critically wounded after his father allegedly shot him in the face with a shotgun on purpose last week during an explosive argument with the child’s mother.

The child, named Ryker, had celebrated his 2nd birthday just days before the April 16 shooting, during which the boy’s father, Michael Glance, 32, of Blackman Township, was allegedly arguing with his mother, Nicole McCarthy, Mlive.com reports.

The boy was rushed to a local hospital before being airlifted to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, where he underwent five surgeries in the first 24 hours of being there to repair his face, hand, arm and lungs.

On Wednesday, Michigan resident John Hays, who had never met the child or his mother but had heard about their plight through “a friend of a friend” at work, created a GoFundMe account to help the child’s family cover medical and living expenses, he tells PEOPLE.

a person posing for the camera: Michael Glance, 32 | Jackson County © Provided by TIME Inc. Michael Glance, 32 | Jackson County

RELATED: Mich. Dad Allegedly Shot 2-Year-Old Son in Face with Shotgun During Argument with Mom

Since then, more than 1,060 people have donated nearly $43,000 to help the child, who faces years of surgeries, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.

“I’m still in shock but thankful for all the support we’re getting,” Ryker’s grandfather, Doug McCarthy, told Mlive.com about the GoFundMe. “I never thought there could be this many people who would want to help someone they never met.”

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Hays tells PEOPLE, “This is a very sad situation. Talk about tearing at your heartstrings.”

He adds: “The most important piece in all of this is that the whole community wants to help. There are 160,000 people in Jackson County and if it was up to them, I’m pretty adamant you would have 160,000 people up at the hospital.”

“Around here,” he says, “the sentiment is still, ‘Help thy neighbor.'”

A Long Road to Recovery

Since Tuesday, Ryker has had titanium placed in his jaw, Hays wrote on the GoFundMe page.

Surgeons have worked to reconstruct the boy’s mouth, gums and nose.

“Ryker now has over 100 stitches in his face post-surgery and is still listed in critical care with a ventilator and feeding tube installed in his stomach,” Hays wrote. “He has a long road of recovery ahead with more surgeries to come.”

Ryker was scheduled to undergo surgery on his hand on Tuesday, Hays wrote.

An Unthinkable Act of Violence

Police have said Glance allegedly first held a pistol to his son’s head, Mlive.com reports. But when he pulled the trigger, the gun failed to go off.

“It was by some divine intervention that gun malfunctioned and his life was spared, but how much of it was really spared?” Jackson County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kati Rezmierski said in court, NBC affiliate WILX10 reports.

After Glance allegedly tried to shoot the boy with the malfunctioning pistol, the mother grabbed the child and raced to her car. She was strapping the child into his car seat when Glance allegedly came out of the house with a shotgun, WILX10 reports.

“He pointed it at him and blew off half of his face,” Rezmierski said in court, WILX reports. The outlet adds the boy was also shot in the arm.

Glance chased McCarthy and allegedly tried firing the pistol at her before fleeing the scene, WILX reports.

Police quickly tracked him down and arrested him, Mlive.com reports.

Glance is charged with three counts of assault with intent to murder and felony firearms, online court records show.

He is being held on a $10 million bond. He was arraigned Thursday and has not yet entered a plea.

Hays hopes the GoFundMe helps the family in the difficult days and months to come.

“Funds won’t heal the damage but will help eliminate some of the small barriers that the family will have to deal with,” he says.

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