By Calvin Palmer
A 15-year-old Florida boy suffered second-degree burns over 75 percent of his body when five teenagers doused him with rubbing alcohol and set him on fire because he stopped someone from stealing his father’s bicycle.
The incident occurred yesterday at the Lime Tree Apartments in Deerfield Beach.
Michael Brewer was taken by helicopter to Broward General Medical Center, then transferred to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s burn unit in Miami, where his condition is described as serious. He is likely to be in hospital for five months.
He was burned on his torso and arms, sheriff’s spokesman Jim Leljedal said. Family members said most of his hair, including his eyelashes, had also been burned off.
Broward County sheriff’s office charged 15-year-olds Matthew Bent, Denver Jarvis, Steven Shelton and Jesus Mendez and 13-year-old Jeremy Jarvis with aggravated battery. Mendez was also charged with attempted second-degree murder because authorities say he flicked the lighter.
Bent and the Jarvis brothers appeared before Circuit Judge Elijah Williams today . They were each ordered held in a juvenile detention center for 21 days.
Brewer owed Bent $40 that he’d borrowed to buy a video game, investigating officer Sgt Steve Feeley said. When Brewer failed to pay him back, Bent tried to steal Brewer’s dad’s bicycle on Sunday.
Brewer called police and Bent was arrested. Bent was released from a juvenile detention center yesterday morning.
Both Bent and Brewer skipped school yesterday. They both attend Deerfield Beach Middle School.
Bent and his friends found the jug of alcohol moments before running into Brewer at the pool of the apartment complex where Brewer was waiting for a friend to come back from school.
Denver Jarvis doused Brewer with the rubbing alcohol while Bent cheered him on and yelled “Snitch, snitch!”.
The family has set up the Michael Brewer Foundation with Bank of America for anyone who wants to help with medical expenses. The foundation’s account number is 898035752616 and funds can be deposited at any Bank of America.
What a marvelous indictment of America. First that a group of boys resort to such an egregious act of retribution. Did they think it was a computer game? Second, the victim’s family has to make an appeal to raise funds for the cost of treatment of their son. In most other advanced countries, the bill would be picked up by the government.
Faced by a story such as this one, how can any compassionate fair-minded person object to healthcare reform? Oh I forgot, its opponents are neither compassionate nor fair-minded, just plain selfish.
The American dream of the Republican Party and ultra-conservative Tea Party crowd is a nightmare for everybody else.