Curtis Reed chased his girlfriend's 16 year old son, spraying him with lighter fluid to set him on fire, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Ramsey County Attorney's office.
Reed argued with his girlfriend at around 3 a.m. on Wednesday, and eventually shoved in the face and threw frozen chicken at her. When her son and two other men stepped in to restrain him, Reed turned his rage on the teenager, with one witness saying he threw a knife at the boy.
As the teenager tried to back to sleep on the couch, Reed stared at him, threatening, "Don't go to sleep, bitch." The next thing the boy knew, he woke up covered in lighter fluid and on fire.
"I told you not to go to sleep, bitch," Reed is alleged to have said as he set the boy on fire.
It was Reed himself who made the 911 call on the incident, dialing from a neighbor's house. "I did something stupid," he told the operator, according to the complaint. "My son, I just set him on fire."
"Stupid" seems like an understatement. The boy suffered second and third degree burns to his face, arms, and torso which will probably do permanent damage, according to doctors who treated him.
As horrible as the incident was, it could actually have been worse. Reed told police that at one point he was standing behind the teenager with a hammer, planning to hit him in the head. He realized a hammer blow to the head might kill him, and decided instead to set the boy on fire.
Reed has been charged with first-degree assault, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail or a $30,000 fine.