Aaron Carreto was enjoying his 10th birthday, playing outside his Compton home on July 6 when two neighbors tossed a lit, homemade firework at him, his family said.
The boy reflexively grabbed the illegal firework, which exploded in his left hand, destroying four fingers and most of his palm, the Los Angeles Times reported. Aaron also lost a finger on his right hand and suffered burns on both hands, his face and his torso.
“It makes me sad when I see other people with their hand and I don’t have mind.”
One of the neighbors, Walter David Revolorio, 27, was arrested and charged with felony child cruelty and possession of a destructive device, the Times reported.
The investigation is ongoing, but no charges had been filed against a second neighbor as of Monday. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials had no immediate comment on the status of the investigation.
Aaron told Fox 11 in Los Angeles he was playing outside in his neighborhood when he walked over to the neighbors to say hello. At one point, the men called out his name.
"They said my name, and then I turned and my hand flipped over, so that's when they handed the firework to me," Aaron said. "I was about to throw it and it exploded in my hand."
The explosion was so great, it rocked nearby cars, Fox 11 reported.
“I wish they could be in jail, and they won’t do this to other kids,” said 10-year-old Aaron Carreto. https://t.co/Xy8k0S1ZcR
The Times reported that Aaron was immediately taken to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, where he underwent a series of emergency surgeries. Doctors at UC Irvine Medical Center attached his left arm to his stomach to hopefully preserve nerve and skin tissue they can use to reconstruct his hand.
Aaron’s older sister, Adriana Carreto, said doctors also reattached the finger her brother lost on his right hand.
Carreto wrote on a GoFundMe page set up to help with Aaron's medical expenses that he has a long recovery ahead, including at least two additional surgeries. Photos and video of the boy on the fundraising page, as well as on social media, show him with burns on his face and his left arm hidden under a hospital gown.
Pain is etched on the boy’s face.
DRAMÁTICO RELATO: Aaron Carreto de 10 años y su familia describen momentos en que el niño perdió la mano izquierda cuando alguien le dio un juego pirotécnico encendido intencionalmente. 6pm #Telemundo52pic.twitter.com/vKr9s4BXeo
"This incident changed his life, (his) way of living, but not his spirits," Carreto wrote. "Everyone knows him as a social butterfly, always friendly to his teammates on the soccer team. He's very caring and aware of other people's needs."
Carreto wrote that her brother loves riding his bike with neighborhood friends and playing the popular online video game "Fortnite" with classmates over their summer break.
"Now with his new disability, he'll find it difficult to adjust to his day to day lifestyle," Carreto wrote.
As of Monday afternoon, donors had raised more than $47,000 of the page's $50,000 goal to help Aaron and his family.
Carreto said along with the physical pain her brother is in, he is also psychologically scarred.
As of Monday, Aaron had been released from the hospital to continue his recovery at home.
"I been reading all the positive and kind words to Aaron from his donors and he said he appreciates all the help and support," Carreto wrote. "He said he feels happy with each and every one of you guys."
The distraught sister told ABC 7 she, however, is angry.
"I'm angry because those two guys are adults and one of them has kids," Carreto told the news station. "I'm pretty sure if it was his kid, he wouldn't have let that happen."
Aaron told KTLA he wants to see both men punished for what they did to him.