COMPTON, Calif. (KTLA/CNN) – A vicious prank pulled by two grown men earlier this month in Compton, Calif., left a little boy with serious injuries, his family said.
Ten-year-old Aaron Carreto’s life was changed forever on July 6, his birthday, when he says two adult neighbors approached him outside his family’s home.
"He had something in his arm, and I looked at it, and he told me, ‘Do you want to have it?’ I said no. And I knew it was a firework,” Aaron said. “And then they light up the firework and they give it to me. And then when they gave it to me … that firework exploded in my hand."
The blast blew off all of his fingers on his left hand and burned his right hand, as well as his face and stomach.
Adriana Carreto, one of Aaron’s older sisters, said Aaron has already had four surgeries. He’ll still have to endure at least two more.
“He lost his left hand completely,” a family member wrote on a GoFundMe page for Aaron’s medical costs.
According to the page, the neighbors tossed “an illegal and homemade firework” at Aaron, “leaving no time for him to toss it away.”
"I'm still in shock. I don't believe it," Adriana Carreto said. "I'm trying to accept the fact and when, if he needs me or anything, he knows he has a big sister he can count on."
His mangled left hand is now attached to his abdomen to help with blood flow and nerve damage. Three weeks from now, doctors will detach and free up what’s left of Aaron’s hand and send him home.
But Aaron worries about acceptance once he leaves the hospital.
"He feels sad that people are going to judge him once he goes home,” Adriana Carreto said. “But he said that he's strong and he's going to get through this."
As for those adults who tossed him the lit firework, Aaron said he wishes they would be sent to jail.
Family members said one of the men suspected of involvement has been arrested. A second man remains under investigation.