DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. – A teen who police say was set ablaze by five other boys screamed in agony as a breathless 911 caller pleaded for help because "a little boy just caught on fire," according to a recording released Friday.
In the most dramatic of four emergency calls released by the Broward County Sheriff's Office, the relentless, guttural cries of 15-year-old Michael Brewer often drown out the woman who is dialing dispatchers.
"A little boy just caught on fire!" the unidentified woman says, barely able to catch her breath to give her address.
Prompted by the dispatcher during the eight-minute call, the woman asks the boy, "How did this happen?" He cries: "I don't know! I don't know!" Paramedics later ask him who is responsible for his burns, but he again says he doesn't know.
In a second call made by another woman, the dispatcher asks: "They put gas on him and they lit him on fire?" She replies: "Uh-huh."
In all, authorities recorded calls totaling 28 minutes — some rather calm, detached reporting of the facts, while the boy's anguish is evident in others.
Five teens are charged with aggravated battery in Brewer's burning Monday at a Deerfield Beach apartment complex, which authorities said was prompted by a dispute over a video game that escalated when someone tried to steal a bicycle that belonged to the boy's father.
The teen accused of flicking the lighter after Brewer was doused with rubbing alcohol also faces an attempted second-degree murder charge. All of the teens face the possibility of having their cases moved to adult court.
Brewer's doctor said he is doing as well as can be expected, but faces years of skin grafts, therapy and surgery, and that potentially fatal organ failure and infections are common in cases so severe.