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A six-year-old Connecticut boy has suffered second and third-degree burns to his face and legs after an alleged bullying incident by an 8-year-old neighbor.
Dominick Krankall was rushed to the burn unit of Bridgeport Hospital on Sunday after another boy allegedly covered a tennis ball with gasoline, ignited it, and threw it at the younger boy, striking him in the face, Fox 5 reported. Bridgeport Police confirmed that unsupervised children had been seen playing with gasoline and setting various objects on fire Sunday afternoon.
The boy’s sister, Kayla Deegan, said her brother was playing with other neighborhood children in the backyard. She said the 8-year-old in question had somehow accessed a shed on the property and retrieved gasoline and a lighter.
“As soon as he [Krankall] walked down the stairs, the bully called his name and lured him over around the corner,” the boy’s sister, Kayla Deegan, told NBC 4 New York. “In a matter of seconds he came back around the corner screaming, saying, ‘Mommy, they lit me on fire! They lit me on fire!’”
**Warning deeply disturbing images**
(Video: Fox 5)
Deegan also claimed this instance was not the first.
“This has happened multiple times with this kid bullying my little brother,” she told Fox 5.
“What he did was pour gasoline on a tennis ball, took a lighter, lit it up and just chucked it right at my brother’s face — and then ran away from him and watched him burn,” she recalled.
“It resulted in this: My baby brother laying in the hospital bed who could have burnt to death,” Deegan said. “He can barely sleep, he can barely eat, he can barely talk. It’s just not fair, just seeing him like that makes me want to break down.”
(Video: NBC 4)
Bridgeport police say the investigation is “very active,” but criminal charges have yet to be filed.
The family is righteously outraged, as they say young Dominick has ended up in the hospital before allegedly at the hands of the same 8-year-old neighbor.
“Two months ago, under the bully’s mother’s supervision, he was pushed into a wall and fell to the floor. And again, the mother refuses to admit her kid did it,” said Deegan.
Initially, the other boy’s family refused to comment on the incident.
“It’s heartbreaking; it’s sickening to know the family. There’s nothing being done about this,” said Deegan. “This needs to be seen everywhere so everyone knows Dom’s story and what he had to go through, and the extent it went to for someone to hopefully do something.”
“My 6-year-old son looked at me, and he said, ‘Daddy, he poured gasoline on a ball, and he threw it directly into my face, and he caught my face on fire with a fireball,'” Domonick’s father, Aaron Krankall, told ABC 7.
“I heard him screaming, ‘Mommy help me, they set me on fire,'” mother Maria Rua said.
The mother of the 8-year-old boy, who also has an 11-year-old son, denies any involvement on the part of her children.
**Warning deeply disturbing images**
(Video: ABC 7)
Laura Giacobbe is also the property’s landlord. “There was no bullying whatsoever involved, none,” she told the outlet.
“She [Rua] neglected these children outside,” Giacobbe said. “She neglected them. If your child is being bullied, would you leave your child out with somebody being bullied? That’s the question.”
Rua firmly retorted, “My son has been bullied by this child for a year.” She continued, “That day, they purposefully threw a gasoline-saturated ball that they lit on fire at my son’s face. They called his name so he would turn around. They threw it at Dominick and left him outside alone to die.”
“His face is about twice the size it normally is,” Rua said of her hospitalized son. “He’s swollen with blisters. You can’t even see his beautiful eyes anymore.”
The victim’s father is determined to see an end to what he says has been happening for far too long.
“They can go outside, they’ll be playing basketball for 5 or 10 minutes, and everything seems grand,” Aaron Krankall said. “And then maybe 10, 15 minutes goes by and someone gets pushed, someone gets tripped, someone gets hurt. And this has been going on and on, and I am so sick of it…I will not stop, though, until this kid gets put away because this is not OK. I need justice for my son.”
On Wednesday, the family of the 8-year-old boy in question decided to release a statement of their own in which they appeared to demonstrate sensitivity, though no responsibility was accepted.
“We had a horrible tragedy recently and our thoughts and prayers are with the injured boy. We are working with authorities to determine what occurred, and we fully support their investigation,” Laura Giacobbe told FOX 5 NY in a statement. “We hope concerned people will wait before drawing conclusions or making assumptions about what happened until officials have made their determinations. Please join our prayers and wishes that the injured boy recovers fully and quickly.”
Hospital officials say that although the young boy has a long recovery ahead, their prognosis is that he will likely have minimal scarring once healed.
A GoFundMe created by the family has raised over $362,000 at the time of this writing.
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