Evan Thomas Silva, 26, died Saturday after he was struck by shrapnel from the cannon, which was fired to “celebrate the baby’s pending arrival,” Michigan State Police said in a statement.
When the cannon was fired by the homeowner, police said the cannon blew up, spraying metal shrapnel across the yard that struck Silva, three vehicles and the garage of the home in Gaines Township.
Silva was standing about 10 to 15 feet away from the cannon, and was the only person hit by shrapnel, police said. He was taken to a local hospital, where he died from his injuries.
“The cannon did not contain any projectiles, but it is suspected that the gun powder loaded into the device caused the cannon to fracture, resulting in shrapnel being spread in the area,” according to the police statement.
Police said the cannon was similar to a “signal cannon,” which releases a flash, a loud boom and smoke when fired, and “is more commonly used now as a novelty item.” The homeowner had purchased the cannon at an auction and had fired it several times before, police said.
Genesee County prosecutors will review the case when Michigan State Police’s investigation concludes, police said.