26-year-old man dies after novelty cannon explodes at Michigan baby shower, police say

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Posted at 7:42 AM, Feb 08, 2021

GAINES TWP., Mich — A 26-year-old man from Hartland was killed Saturday when a novelty cannon exploded during a baby shower near Flint.

The incident happened around 7:30 p.m. in Gaines Township, which is southwest of Flint.

A "small cannon-type device" was fired in the backyard of a home by the home's owner, police said. The cannon, which was similar to a Signal Cannon, blew up, causing metal and shrapnel to hit three parked vehicles and the victim.

The victim has been identified as Evan Thomas Silva. He was taken to Hurley Medical Center in Flint where he later died from his injuries.

Investigators say that type of cannon is commonly used as a novelty item. The homeowner purchased it at an auction and had fired it several times before Saturday's incident.

Police say the cannon is designed to create a large flash, loud noise and smoke. Although the cannon did not have any projectiles inside, it's suspected that the gun powder that was loaded into the device caused the cannon to fracture, which resulted in shrapnel being spread around the area.

About four or five other guests were outside during the explosion. However, the victim was standing just 10 to 15 feet away from the cannon when it exploded.

Michigan State Police Flint Post, along with MSP bomb squad and the Gaines Township Fire Department were on the scene.

The case is expected to be sent to the Genesee County Prosecutor for review.

This story was originally published by Cara Ball on WXYZ in Detroit.