An expecting couple set off a celebratory cannon at their baby shower, but things went horrifically wrong when gunpowder in the machine exploded, sending shrapnel all around, killing one guest.
“(It was) Similar to a signal cannon,” Michigan State Police Lt. Liz Rich said, according to local affiliate WJRT. “The cast material exploded and sent projectiles in all directions.”
All the cannon was supposed to do was create a flash and smoke, and it had reportedly already been fired multiple times.
After it exploded, 26-year-old Evan Thomas Silva, who was 15 feet away, was struck in the chest by shrapnel and he later died from his injuries at Hurley Medical Center in the city of Flint.
“If there aren’t regular inspections on a device like this, the cast material can wear away,” Lt. Rich explained. Police said shrapnel made it even farther than Silva’s location, launching in a radius of about 25 feet (7.6 meters), hitting three parked cars and a garage, though no other injuries were reported.
The cannon, which the homeowner bought at an auction, was not being used as part of a gender reveal stunt, though those gags, often used for social media videos, have led to increasing amounts of damage and injuries as people continually up the stakes with their viral posts.
Baby showers and gender reveals have caused wildfires in states like Arizona and California in recent years, with over 20,000 acres in the latter state being affected last year.
A grandmother was also killed in 2019 at a gender reveal party in Iowa after being hit in the head by shrapnel after a pipe bomb contraption was set off. Similar to the cannon, the gunpowder ignited, setting off shrapnel, and creating a much larger explosion than what was intended.
Things have gotten so out of hand, blogger Jenna Myers Karvunidis, who is widely credited as the person to start the gender reveal trend, urged people last year to give up trying to outdo one another in showmanship with their baby showers as it was becoming too dangerous.
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