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6-year-old Connecticut boy brutally burned, mother says he was bullied

A little boy is recovering from second and third-degree burns after his parents say a child threw a gas-soaked ball at him.
Credit: Maria Rua, via CNN

BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut — As a warning, some of the images in the video player above may be difficult to see.

A six-year-old Connecticut boy is recovering in a hospital burn unit after his parents said another boy threw a burning gas-soaked ball at him. The boy's mother, Maria Rua, says it was bullying.  

"It's absolute torture to see your child who can't even put food in his mouth and chew," said Rua.

Rua can't stop feeling her 6-year-old son's pain. 

"Yesterday he looked in the mirror and he said, 'Mommy why do I look like that?'" Rua said.

Police said the child was burned Sunday when a few young neighbors were playing outside with lighters and gas.

"The two children who lived downstairs were playing with gasoline and lighters so as I was walking to the apartment to get to the back door I heard him screaming, 'Mommy help me they set me on fire,'" Rua said.

Rua described the incident as a clear-cut case of bullying. 

"It's not like he accidentally was playing with gasoline --- he threw a ball at his face and set my son on fire," Rua said.

For now, the hospital is home. 

"To watch him in pain when he is getting his face scraped is horrifying. I wish it was me instead of him," Rua said.

The boy's father, Aaron Krankall, described his son as a "trooper," despite all he's been going through.

"I am just trying to hold back tears. He's my best friend in the whole world and seeing him like this, he can barely eat, he can't really see. But he's still being a trooper about it."

Rua said there is some hope because the boy won't need surgery and he will likely have little to no scarring. 

"He's a strong boy, he has a good spirit and I know he will pull through," Rua said. 

The other family, whose son is accused of throwing the ball, told a local TV station it was not a bullying incident. 

They also say they've been getting online threats. Local and state police and fire officials are still investigating the incident.