When Aaron Carreto spotted two neighbors at his Compton, California, apartment complex as he played outside on his 10th birthday, he walked over to say hello, KTTV reported.
“They lit a firework and then they gave it to me,” Aaron said, KABC reported. “The fuse went down, I looked at it and then it popped in my hand when I was going to throw it.”
The homemade firework blew off four of Aaron’s fingers, KTLA reported. He also suffered burns to his face and stomach.
Aaron has undergone four surgeries since the July 6 incident and faces at least two more, according to the station.
Walter Revolorio, 27, faces charges including child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death, and possession of a destructive device in a public place in connection with the incident, KABC reported. He has pleaded not guilty.
“I wish they could be in jail, and they won’t do this to other kids,” Aaron said, KTTV reported. He returned home from the hospital Friday to continue recovering.
His sister, Adriana Carreto, wrote on a GoFundMe page established to help cover his medical expenses that Aaron has always been “very caring and aware of other people’s needs.”
“He tells his family how he feels betrayed by those people around us and wants to start a new life far away from where he grew up.” Adriana wrote.
The GoFundMe account had raised more than $40,000 toward a $50,000 goal as of Sunday morning.