CONNECTICUT - Family and friends along with local leaders took part in a parade in Bridgeport, Connecticut for the boy badly burned in an alleged targeted attack by a bully.
Dominick Krankall, 6, was hospitalized with serious burns after an eight-year-old neighbor allegedly covered a ball in gasoline, lit it on fire and threw it at Dominick on Sunday, according to the boy's family.
On Thursday, Mayor Joseph Ganim and police joined the parade to raise the spirits of the boy as the heavily bandaged Dominick looked on from his window at Bridgeport Hospital.
A sign above him taped to the window read: Thank you (heart) Dominick.
According to the boy's sister, Dominick had been targeted by the bully before.
"Within seconds later, he came back around the corner on fire screaming, 'Mommy they lit me on fire, they lit me on fire,'" said Kayla Deegan. "This has happened multiple times with this kid bullying my little brother."
Emergency workers found Krankall on Louisiana Avenue with severe wounds. His face was swollen and he has a long road to recovery but could eventually have minimal scarring.
Bridgeport Police say that unsupervised children were seen playing with gasoline and lighting objects on fire. Police would not give more details, saying it was "a very active investigation," which would be updated as more details become available or if criminal charges are filed.
"He can barely sleep, he can barely eat, he can barely talk," Deegan said. "It’s just not fair, just seeing him like that makes me want to break down."
The mother of the older boy disputed the bullying claim.
"We had a horrible tragedy recently and our thoughts and prayers are with the injured boy. We are working with authorities to determine what occurred, and we fully support their investigation," Laura Giacobbe told FOX 5 NY in a statement. "We hope concerned people will wait before drawing conclusions or making assumptions about what happened until officials have made their determinations. Please join our prayers and wishes that the injured boy recovers fully and quickly."
A GoFundMe for Dominick's treatment had raised more than $365,038 by Thursday afternoon.