Sixteen-year-old Carlos Santana may never have full use of his hand again. He lost two fingers when a homemade explosive device unexpectedly blew up.
“I just seen a ball of aluminum foil,” Santana said. “I just thought it was garbage.”
Santana was playing with other children at a friend’s home on Gray Street in Hartford back in October when he noticed something about the size a golf ball underneath a car parked in the backyard. He picked it up and it exploded in his face.
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“All I seen was white and I got really nervous because I thought I was going to be blind,” said Santana. “I looked down to check everything. I thought it was a dream. I couldn’t believe it. My hand was really messed up, my chest, my shirt.”
At the hospital, doctors were able to save three of Santana’s fingers. They had to use six pins to hold his hand together.
“I was scared. I never saw my son in that kind of state,” said Santana’s mother, Tanisha Gabriele. “Just to be a mom, getting over there. I didn’t know what happened. I just held him and waited.”
Police say the device was made with common household products. Their investigation into how it got there and why continues today, and so far no arrests have been made.
“I do not want my son’s tragedy to go unsolved,” Gabriele said. “He’s going to live the rest of his life like this, and for him not to know why or who, it would be the most painful thing.”
Santana still faces many months of occupational therapy. He’s learning to do things in a new way every day. He hopes to be an inspiration to others.
“I’m not going to let it restrict me,” said Santana. “There are still so many things I can do.”