A one-year-old is fighting for his life in a Bristol hospital after being shot in the back of a head by an airgun pellet. A man, 24, and a woman, 23, who are not related to the boy, have been arrested in connection with the shooting.

The baby, who has been named as Harry Studley, was believed to have been shot in the back of the head in a flat belonging to his mother's friend on Friday. According to some press reports, the gun – thought to be empty – was being cleaned when it discharged.

In a statement issued through Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Harry's parents, Amy Allen and Edward Studley, said: "We very much appreciate the help and support of our family, friends and local community at this very difficult time.

"We are concentrating our focus on our son Harry's recovery and would appreciate if we could have our privacy respected in order to allow us to do so."

Emergency services arrived at the flat in the southern part of the city at 4.10pm on Friday, 1 June. He was taken to Bristol Children's Hospital, where he remains in critical condtion.

Detective Inspector Jonathan Deane said police were "treating this as a potentially negligent act".

He said, "We have forensic officers at the scene in Hartcliffe and our focus is very much on unraveling the full circumstances leading up to this tragedy. We believe the child received the severe injury from one pellet discharged from an air weapon.

"Our thoughts are with the child's family and they are being given all the help and support they need."

The Bristol Post quoted one neighbour who heard the child "screaming and and screaming", adding: "I couldn't sleep last night because I just couldn't get this picture out of my head. The mother was running behind covered in blood."

Jordan Walters, 24, and Emma Jane Horseman, 23, of Bishport Avenue, have been charged with causing grievous bodily harm.