Mother of Severely Burned Florida Boy Pleads for End to Childhood Violence

Valerie Brewer said she knows the teens accused of setting her son on fire.

ByABC News via GMA logo
October 14, 2009, 3:39 PM

Oct. 15, 2009— -- The mother of a Florida boy who was severely burned after a group of teenagers set him on fire said adults need to do something to stop the wave of violence among children.

"People really need to wake up and see what's going on with this generation. They need to take hold of our children and really do something," Valerie Brewer told "Good Morning America" today. "The violence across our nation, across our world with our children is getting stronger and stronger, and we need to stop it now, so this doesn't happen to somebody else."

"It's just unimaginable," she said. "Violence doesn't solve anything."

Brewer said her son is heavily sedated and has a tube to help him breath and can't speak.

It's unclear how much he remembers of the vicious attack, in which five teens allegedly doused him with rubbing alcohol and set him on fire, sending 15-year-old Michael running for a nearby pool. He was left with severe burns over 65 percent of his body.

But Brewer said her son can open his eyes when he hears her voice. He even tried to ask her to take his tubes out.

"I know he's in excellent hands," she said. "He's very strong."

Dr. Nicholas Namias of Jackson Memorial Ryder Hospital, where Michael is being treated, said the burn covers portions of nearly every part of his body save for a strip down his front. He cautioned that the teen's condition could worsen in the coming days.

"It's a rocky ride. Things get worse before they get better," Namia told "Good Morning America." "What's going on now is the whole body goes under a huge inflammatory response, and so we start seeing difficulty with the lungs and kidneys."

Even if Brewer makes it through the next few weeks, there is still the likelihood of organ failure and the painful prospect of multiple operations to replace the burned skin, his doctors said.

Namia said it was hard to tell whether Michael's reaction of running to the nearby pool made things worse or saved his life.

"I still want every kid out there to remember stop drop and roll," he said. "The running part may have fanned the flames."

Bank of America and Jackson Memorial Foundation have set up a fund in Brewer's name. Donations are being accepted at any Bank of America branch, and the Jackson Memorial Foundation can be reached at (305) 355-4999.