Carl is the only son of deputy sheriff Rick Grimes and his wife, Lori Grimes. When the dead rise, Lori takes Carl to a purported safe zone in Atlanta, Georgia, along with Rick's partner, Shane Walsh. Lori and Carl join a group of survivors on the outskirts of Atlanta, formed and led by Shane. There, they are eventually reunited with Rick.Despite being only seven years old, Carl is taught to shoot a pistol. This comes in handy when he saves his mother from an attacking walker.[volume & issue needed] Later, he is forced to kill an unstable Shane in order to protect his father.
After the group buries Shane and leaves Atlanta, Carl is shot and wounded by ranch foreman Otis while searching for supplies in the woods.[volume & issue needed] The survivors are brought to the farm of Otis' employer, veterinarian Hershel Greene, who successfully treats Carl.[volume & issue needed] The group remains at the farm for several days until tensions cause Hershel to evict them.
They eventually find an abandoned prison.[volume & issue needed] While there, Carl and the others enjoy the prison's luxuries, such as hot showers and open space.[volume & issue needed] He is confronted with disturbing experiences, such as witnessing numerous counts of violence/death.[volume & issue needed] While Rick was away with other survivors, he frequently gave Lori re-assurance about his well-being.[volume & issue needed] Throughout Lori's pregnancy, Carl was thrilled with the idea of a baby sister and when Judith is born he is fiercely protective over her.