Evan Silva, a 26-year-old man from the Gaines Township area in Michigan, died on Saturday, February 6, after an accidental explosion occurred at a baby shower.
Silva attended the baby shower as a friend of the family, surely as excited as everyone else to celebrate.
When the happy couple set up the cannon in their backyard and lit the fuse, they were expecting a big flash and noise. Instead, the cannon exploded, sending pieces of metal shrapnel in every direction.
While investigating, the Michigan State Police have since found pieces of shrapnel embedded in the outer side of the garage where the party was held, in nearby car doors and hoods and as far as 25 feet away in the yard.
Silva was struck in the chest with a piece of shrapnel and went to the Hurley Medical Center in Flint that same afternoon. He died at the hospital as a result of the pieces in his chest and lungs.
The Michigan State Police Bomb Squad, Gaines Township Fire Department and Med Star Ambulance were on the scene after the explosion.
Michigan State Police Lieutenant Liz Rich reported:
"(It was) similar to a signal cannon. The cast material exploded and sent projectiles in all directions."
The Michigan State Police have continued their investigation of the damages to the surrounding area, as well as the makeup of the cannon, looking for any potential tampering or neglect.
Lieutenant Rich reported:
"The homeowner reported it had been shot several times. If there aren't regular inspections on a device like this, the cast material can wear away."
The family stated the cannon was used in several celebrations and it was not part of a gender reveal. But a cannon at a baby shower is not completely uncommon these days.
Neither are devastating or deadly mishaps.
Parents and loved ones have become increasingly creative in how they do gender reveals at baby showers or as part of separate events. In the last few years alone, there have been fires in California and Arizona, and much like Silva, a grandmother died when an explosive device was set off near her.
Lieutenant Rich stressed:
"People are very creative in the gender reveals, but remember, safety is and always should be number one."
Firearms Expert and CEO of Sheridan Arms in Saginaw Township, Phil Sheridan, also weighed in on the situation, stating that people should take the utmost precautions when using guns and explosives.
Sheridan also said that a variety of factors could have played into why the cannon malfunctioned.
"Simply loading the wrong type of gunpowder, loading too much gunpowder in there can take an open-ended cannon and turn it into a bomb."
Yesterday, Evan Silva's brother, Phil Silva shared the heartbreaking news with his Facebook family.
Phil Silva wrote:
"Yesterday evening, Evan Silva was in a fatal accident. He has left behind a loving family, countless friends and memories in all of our hearts."
Friends and family shared their love, sympathy and support.
Parties are always meant to be fun, and events like a baby shower are a special time of celebration.
But as Lieutenant Rich stated, safety should come first. Have fun with your friends and family, but be careful, too.