Authorities were called to a home on Plantation Lane outside of Clinton around 10:30 p.m. for a reported burglary and shooting.
The 911 caller said a male suspect broke into the home and tried to force his way into a bedroom. When the suspect couldn't break in, he allegedly fired a gun into the room, striking a 4-year-old child. The father attempted to chase the suspect who fled into a getaway vehicle, police said.
Officials believe the child's parents may have been targeted in the home invasion because they are migrant workers.
"It's a sad day, folks, when an innocent four-year-old child is sitting in a bedroom not fully cognizant of what all's going on and then all of a sudden a bullet goes off," Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said. "This is uncalled for."
Family members drove the child to Sampson Regional Medical Center where he was airlifted to a regional medical facility. Officials said the child was on life support and listed in critical condition. They did not release his name.
The suspect was described as a tall black male. Police were unable to get a vehicle description of the getaway car.
As police were responding to the incident, a second burglary was reported at 2285 Turkey Highway. The 911 caller said three armed suspects took a large screen television. No one was hurt, police said.
The three suspects were described as black males wearing hooded sweatshirts.
Investigators believe the two or three male suspects may be responsible for four incidents since Friday -- two home invasions and two personal robberies.
Anyone with information should contact the Sampson County Sheriff's Department at (910) 564-5261. The sheriff's office has issued a $5,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest.