A Michigan man was fatally wounded when a cannon exploded in a backyard during a baby shower he was 15 feet from the bomb when the blast occurred.
Evan Thomas Silva, 26, of Heartland, was injured by a metal shrapnel in an explosion outside a home in the town of Genesee in Guinness County, about 55 miles (88.5 kilometers) northwest of Detroit. He was transferred in critical condition to Hurley Medical Center in Flint, where he later died.
Four or five people were in the backyard when the small cannon was fired, but Silva was standing about 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.6 meters) away and was the only person hit by a shrapnel, Michigan State Police said. Three parked cars and the garage in which the children were bathing were also hit.
The cannon, which the homeowner fired as a family celebrating the arrival of a child soon, was similar to the signal cannon, and is most commonly seen as a new item. Police said the homeowner bought the cannon at auction and fired it multiple times before.
Police said it was suspected that the shrapnel came from the shattered cannon during the explosion.
“The gun is designed to cause significant flash, loud noise and smoke,” the state police said in a press release. “The cannon did not contain any projectiles, but it is suspected that the gunpowder loaded in the device caused the cannon to break, which led to the spread of shrapnel in the area.”
State Police Lieutenant Lise Rich said, “Cast material exploded and fired projectiles in all directions … if there were no regular inspections on a device like this, the casting might corrode.”
After the investigation, the police said, the case will be sent to the Genesee County Public Prosecutor for review.
Silva’s brother, Phil Silva, posted a greeting to his brother on Facebook, saying, “He left behind a loving family, countless friends and memories in our hearts,” the Detroit News reported.
In recent years, some gender-revealing events – with devices taking out clippings of paper, balloons, or other colorful objects to announce the gender of the soon-to-be-born baby – have taken a dangerous turn.
In September, the couple’s plan to reveal the gender of their child using blue or pink smoke sparked a wildfire that burned thousands of acres of Southern California. And in 2019, homemade explosives used to reveal the gender of the baby killed 56-year-old Pamela Cremier in Knoxville, Iowa. The device was intended to spray the powder but instead it detonated like a pipe bomb