Florida teenager Michael Brewer was intentionally set on fire at a Deerfield Beach, Florida apartment complex and suffered second-degree burns over 80 percent of his body. Five youths from his school are in police custody.
According to police, Brewer owed one of the suspects US$40 for a video game. This unpaid video game debt apparently led the suspect to steal the victim's father's bicycle, reports CNN.
Brewer reported that the bicycle was stolen, leading to the suspect's arrest. The suspect was released from a detention center earlier this week on Monday morning.
The suspect and the victim did not attend school on Monday.
On Tuesday, Brewer was waiting for friends at an apartment complex when he was approached by the suspect. According to eye-witness reports and from what the juveniles have told authorities, the suspect screamed, "He's [Brewer] a snitch, he's a snitch" and "pour it on him." Another suspect then threw what's believed to be rubbing alcohol on Brewer, before setting the victim ablaze with a lighter.
"A couple of them last night were laughing about it," said sheriff's Sgt. Steve Feeley. "One of them arrested today seems genuinely sorry about it."
One witness told CNN affiliate WPLG, "I saw a kid throwing something at the other kid, and next thing you know, the kid was on fire. He was up in fire."
According to WPLG, an apartment resident extinguished the fire with a fire extinguisher, and the teenager jumped into the complex's swimming pool.
"In my 31 years — I always say, 'it's the most heinous crime I've ever seen,'" Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti said. "This one fits in that category. The fact that a person would intentionally ignite another child on fire — it's indescribable."
Brewer is expected to remain in the hospital for the next five months to recover from his burns.