A 15-year-old Florida teen is returning to school six months after three classmates allegedly burned more than two thirds of his body. Michael Brewer Jr. was attending Deerfield Beach Middle School in October when the incident occurred.
According to Brewer, the incident began with an argument over a $40 video game and a stolen bicycle. Brewer was given a video game by classmate Matthew Brent and then expected to pay for it, which Brewer never did, according to the Broward County Sheriff. As a result, Brent tried to steal a $500 bicycle from Brewer's father and was arrested. When Brent was released, he confronted Brewer and the trouble began.
NBC reports that Brewer was doused with rubbing alcohol and set on fire by Brent and several of his friends. Brewer likely saved his own life by jumping into a nearby pool to extinguish the flames.
“This school is terrible. I don’t know why I went to this school,” Brewer told Today’s Meredith Vieira during an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
Brewer surprised medical professionals when he left the hospital at Christmas time, much earlier than anyone expected. In his interview with Meredith Vieira, he attributed his rapid recovery to all of the support that poured in from supporters all over the nation. “I think that’s the most thing that kept me alive, was all these prayers and believing in me,” he said.
Brewer says he feels no pain, but he is still required to wear blue compression sleeves under his shirt to protect his arms. Still, he has already returned to his favorite outdoor activities and enjoys skateboaring, bike riding, baseball and basketball.
He is also excited to return to school, having enrolled in a new middle school in a new city, but his mother Valerie is still uneasy. “I’m very apprehensive," she told Meredith. "I know I have to cut the cord again. I’ve been very protective of him, not letting him get very far from me. I’m just fearful. I know he’s a very strong young man. He’s determined. I know the school will protect him. He needs to get back out into the world and start experiencing real life again.”
Brewer's attacker and three alleged accomplices were arrested and charged as adults with one count of attempted second-degree murder.