MOUNT VERNON — No charges will be filed in connection with a June 17 incident at Shalimar Apartments in which a youth suffered a significant burn injury to his back.
“There were actual burns,” said Assistant Knox County Prosecutor Chip McConville. “It’s a matter of how they occurred. At this point, I don’t think there’s any amount of proof to say it was the result of a deliberate action by someone else.”
McConville said although the 15-year-old victim claims he was set on fire by a 16-year-old youth, witness statements do not corroborate those claims.
“We have three witness statements that say nothing deliberate happened for the victim to catch on fire,” said McConville.
All the statements say two-cycle fuel — like that used in a leaf blower — was involved in the incident.
“That’s what all the statements say,” confirmed McConville. “As to how it got on him; the injured teen says somebody threw it on him. The other people say it didn’t happen that way. They say it was spilled on the ground and he got it on himself. He had a lighter and the injuries were accidental.”
The injured boy’s grandmother said he is slowly recovering from the second and third degree burns, thanks to the prayers of family and friends.
“He’s lucky to be alive,” she said, “but he is up and around and still in some pain. He has to do exercises to stretch the skin on his back. They said he has lost 50 percent of the function in one finger on his right hand. He has trouble using it, but he keeps trying to.”
The grandmother maintains the injury was the result of an intentional action by the other youth.