A 26-year-old Michigan man was killed over the weekend by an explosion at a baby shower, according to police.
Michigan State Police said a Genesee County homeowner fired a small cannon-like device during the shower Saturday evening. The cannon blew up and sent shrapnel flying into three parked vehicles and a garage where guests were congregated, striking the victim, who has been identified as Evan Thomas Silva, police said.
The cannon, which was like a signal cannon usually used as a novelty item, was bought at an auction by the homeowner, who had fired it several times prior to the event, police said.
The cannon is designed to create a big flash, a loud noise and smoke and did not contain projectiles, according to police. But investigators believe “the gun powder loaded into the device caused the cannon to fracture, resulting in shrapnel being spread in the area.”
Silva was rushed to Hurley Medical Center, where he died.
Four to five other people who were outside when the cannon was fired were not injured. Silva was standing 10 to 15 feet away from the cannon, police said.
Michigan State Police, the MSP Bomb Squad, Gaines Township Fire Department and Med Star Ambulance responded to the scene.
The case will be sent to the Genesee County Prosecutor for review following an investigation, police said.
In recent years, some gender-reveal events — where devices eject confetti, balloons or other colored objects to announce a soon-to-be-born child’s sex — have taken a dangerous turn.
In September, a couple’s plan to reveal their baby’s gender with blue or pink smoke sparked a wildfire that burned thousands of acres in Southern California. And in 2019, a homemade explosive used to reveal a baby’s gender killed 56-year-old Pamela Kreimeyer in Knoxville, Iowa. The device was meant to spray powder but instead blew up like a pipe bomb.