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(CBS) The mother of a 15-year-old boy who was set on fire by his classmates said on "The Early Show" that violence among children needs to stop.
Valerie Brewer said what happened to her son Michael Brewer is "disgusting."
"Our country, our world, needs to wake up and see what is going on with our children," she said. "They need to do something. This has got to stop. It's not just my son. It's everybody's children. This could happen to somebody else and God forbid -- I don't wish this agony and torture on anybody. We have got to do something to make this violence stop today."
Five Charged With Setting Teen on Fire
Michael has burns on 65 percent of his body after he was doused with rubbing alcohol and set on fire. Five boys, who are all 13 to 15 years old, have been charged in the attack.
Broward County police say Michael owed one of the suspects Matthew Bent $40 for a video game. When he didn't pay up Bent allegedly tried to steal a $500 custom bicycle, belonging to Brewer's father. And when Brewer called the cops, police say, Bent wanted revenge.
Sheriff Al Lambert said, "This group of kids thought, that because the kid may have snitched him out, and turned him in because they were trying to steal his dad's bike, they felt in their mind, it was OK to set him on fire."
Fifteen-year-old Denver Jarvis is accused of dousing Brewer with rubbing alcohol. Jesus Mendez, also 15, is accused of flicking the lighter.
Detective Steve Feeley said, "(One suspect) told him pour it on him, pour it on him at which time a second suspect poured it on, then a third suspect lit him on fire."
Brewer ran and jumped into a pool, but it took a man with a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. Authorities say Bent and Jarvis laughed when they were questioned about the attack.
Sherry Jarvis, the suspects' mother told CBS News, "They're good kids, they have good grades, no problems in school. Wrong place, wrong people."
As for Michael Brewer, he is fighting for his life in Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, where he's expected to remain for months. Michael's doctor, Dr. Nicholas Namias, the director of the Burn Center at Jackson Memorial, said Michael is "doing as well as we could hope someone could do with this condition."
Read more on this tragic story here and listen to the interview with his mom.
I am so disheartened and saddened by this story, though it's not the first time teens have been known to set one another on fire or bludgeon one another to death. The worst thing is that these kids were supposedly 'good kids'. What happened and what were they thinking when they chose to set one of their peers on fire with alcohol?? Don't they have a sense of respect?? Weren't they taught compassion?? You don't have to love or even like someone, but the golden rule should always apply in any situation, whether someone owes you money or not, there is never an excuse to treat a fellow human being, or animal for that matter, like this!
God forbid this child dies, but he has a long way to go now to recover with 65% of his body having burns. Four out of the five teens who were responsible may be tried as adults from what I understand, which means they could face imprisonment for life in an adult facility rather than a juvenile facility. I agree whatever the punishment in this case, they deserve at least life in prison for this unacceptable behavior. Parents need to remind their kids nothing is more valuable than life itself, money and things are never worth the life of another and their own life or freedoms.
The scary thing is, this could happen to any child, any parent and family can suffer from this sort of tragedy. Somehow we must instill morals and values upon our kids that reflect the importance of life. Our culture is too supportive of a culture of death, when we legalize the murder of babies in the womb as a form of birth control or a 'choice' to end an unwanted pregnancy. Rather than teaching that it is a 'choice' to abort a baby why not teach about responsibility, self control, self respect and appreciation for life and others??
If you would like to help Michael Brewer and his family, go to CBS 4's Neighbors 4 Neighbors.
Listen to the frantic 911 call (heartbreaking, you can hear the screams in the background, such a cute kid, this should not have happened, should never happen to anyone's child!!) Listening to this call with this sweet boy in the background just breask my heart over and over....I pray to God he will overcome this tragedy.
My thoughts and prayers are with Michael and his family. How tragic, I hope and pray he recovers and lives to see those who did this to him punished.
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