Ron Turnboo said he was about to wind down for another cold night on the street when a group of men pulled up in a vehicle and threw an illegal firework in his direction.
“I made the mistake of picking it up, not knowing that it was a pipe bomb,” Turnboo explained. “After the pipe bomb exploded in my hand, I saw my fingers literally dangling.”
Without a phone to call 911, Turnboo said he walked to the nearest hospital. He continued, “I thought the best thing I could do was get the heck away from that area, not knowing if Corey was still there.”
Longview Police have confirmed that Corey Bartlette, 25, faces one charge of second-degree assault for allegedly throwing the explosive device in the direction of Turnboo.
Barlette is currently out on bond, his arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 13
Curtis Hart told KOIN 6 News he and his wife Amanda were listening to police scanners on New Year’s Eve when they heard the incident.
“When it first came over the scanner it sounded like somebody just had a firework go off in their hand,” Hart explained. “And then a couple hours later we found out no, somebody threw a firework at a homeless person and blew their hand off.”
Hart said he and his wife were devastated by the news — and felt called to help Turnboo.
“We were like, somebody needs to set up a GoFundMe for this guy ‘cause it’s hard enough being homeless and now he’s missing a hand,” Hart said. “It just seemed like what needed to be done, so we did it.”
The GoFundMe set up by Amanda Hart has now raised over $20,000 for Turnboo’s recovery.
As a homeless individual, Turnboo seemed overwhelmed by the generosity of his neighbors. He said in an interview with KOIN 6 News, “It makes me feel good that people do care here in Longview. I love the support of Longview and everywhere else.”
Hart said his wife compiled a list of expenses that Turnboo would need to aid in his transition out of the hospital and get him back on his feet, including physical therapy, housing and basics.
And while the Longview couple have helped Turnboo use some of the funds to find him temporary housing, get a haircut, and some essentials, Hart told KOIN 6 News that money is Turnboo’s.
“Part of it I’ll use for what I need to do for me,” Turnboo said when asked about what he plans to do with the funds. “And my honey and me are planning on getting married in Austin, Texas, living down there and getting away from the devastation of what happened here in Longview.”