Brackett and his girlfriend had stopped at the U-Gas station in Brownsville after running out of fuel. Around 11:30 p.m., a man approached Brackett, grabbed the gas can he was carrying, and doused him in the liquid before setting him on fire. Brackett ran into the street, where a Good Samaritan helped him into a grassy area where he dropped and rolled until the flames were out. Almost 50 percent of his body was covered in burns.
Miami-Dade authorities are investigating the incident as a potential homicide, thought they have no leads as of this writing. It has been reported that Brackett had some brief words with some men prior to the attack, but it is not known if they played a role or if this was a random assault.
Brackett was rushed to the Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center, where doctors performed bedside surgery to relieve pressure from acquired fluids. Next, Brackett will undergo another operation where doctors will temporarily add in skin from a pig cadaver. New, permanent skin will be taken from parts of his body that went unscathed in the attack. The road to recovery won’t be easy, doctors say.
“He has some burns over some critical joints particularly elbows, hands…..This is going to be a lifelong process,” Dr. Carl Schulman, a trauma surgeon at the center said.
Charles Dinkins, a local pastor from nearby Hosanna Community Baptist Church, noted how frequently these incidents happen.
“It’s just tragic in terms of how this occurred, and even more tragic is we in the community have become so accustomed to seeing shootings and death, that to some extent, we view it as being normal.”
Bridgett noted that while her son has a rap sheet for multiple drug offenses, he had pulled his life together and was not known for starting trouble.
Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade County’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 305-471-8477.