Newly released video appears to disprove a Connecticut mother’s claims that her son was targeted by bullies when he was hit in the face with a burning ball, instead showing a seeming accident as kids play dangerously with fire.
Backyard surveillance footage shows the events of April 24, when six-year-old Dominick Justino Krankall suffered second and third-degree burns while playing with other kids in Bridgeport.
The video was released after police concluded there was no wrongdoing in the case, and shows a group of boys, including Dominick, dousing a soccer ball with gasoline, setting it ablaze, and then kicking it around the yard.
‘They were interacting in the backyard being boys,’ said Laura Giacobbe, who released the video after her sons were accused of bullying Dominick, in an interview with WFSB-TV.
Backyard surveillance footage shows the events of April 24, when six-year-old Dominick Justino Krankall (left, and right after recovering) suffered second and third-degree burns
Video shows a group of boys, including Dominick, dousing a soccer ball with gasoline, setting it ablaze, and then kicking it around the yard
Dominick is seen shortly after catching on fire just out of the camera’s view
The video also appears to show one of the neighbor boys trying to pat out the flames
Dominick’s mother Maria Rua had previously claimed in media interviews that her son was intentionally set on fire by neighborhood bullies, telling DailyMail.com last month that he ran home screaming ‘Mommy, they lit me on fire.’
The mother and other family members claimed that the other boys had lit a gasoline-soaked ball on fire and thrown it in Dominick’s face — a scene the newly released video does not depict.
Rua also claimed that her son had been terrorized by their eight-year-old neighbor and his 11-year-old brother for more than a year, without naming the children.
‘These kids are bullies and physically abusive. They even threatened that they would light me on fire. They are angry kids and they are going to hurt someone,’ she said at the time.
The case gained national attention, and a GoFundMe page for Dominick — which prominently touted the family’s bullying claims — has raised more than $500,000.
There was even a parade of first responders in honor of Dominick as he recovered in hospital, and the young boy was invited onto the field before a New York Yankees game.
Dominick and his mom, Maria Rua are seen left. Neighbor Laura Giacobbe (right) says new video disproves claims her sons intentionally set Dominick on fire
Neighboring mother Laura Giacobbe (above with her family) released the video after her sons were accused of bullying Dominick, an allegation that now appears false
Dominick surrounded by all his favorite stuffed animals is recovering at the hospital
Dominick getting a piggy back from his dad, Aaron Krankall, while waving hello
But now, neighboring mother Giacobbe says that the video evidence proves that the bullying claims were a fabrication.
Though the moment Dominick catches on fire is not visible on the video, the video appears to show one of the neighbor boys filling a cup with gasoline, setting it down, and lighting it on fire.
Dominick is seen approaching the area with the cup off-screen, and then stumbling back into the frame with his cloths on fire. One of the neighbor boys tries to pat out the flames on his face.
‘Dominick was not left there to die. My 11-year-old son Lorenzo saved him, took his bare hands and took the fire out on his face,’ said Giacobbe.
Giacobbe said she wasn’t home at the time, but her upstairs neighbor Rua was supposed to be watching their four boys.
Neighboring mother Giacobbe (above with her son’s father) says that the video evidence proves that the bullying claims were a fabrication
Photos show that Dominick has recovered well from the horrible ordeal
Dominick, who loves being outdoors, is pictures smiling after making a big catch in a photograph taken a few days before he was severely burned
Giacobbe’s family attorney says they are even considering legal action, after the bullying claims generated a frenzy of threats from an online mob.
‘The police department had to sit in front of the home overnight, to make sure nothing happened. It was stated the house would be lit on fire, they were going to drag my son and myself down the street and let us suffer from the pain,’ said Giacobbe.
However, Dominick’s family say that their information was based on what the boy told them about the incident, and pointed out that key moments of the incident are not visible on the video.
Photos of Dominick posted from the hospital this week show that he is healing well from the incident, with just a few red marks visible on his forehead.