The man was killed by shrapnel sent flying after the cannon exploded.
evan silva
Evan Silva
| Credit: Go Fund Me

A 26-year-old man was killed at a baby shower on Saturday after a small cannon exploded during the festivities, police said.

Evan Thomas Silva of Hartland, Michigan was standing 10-15 feet away from the cannon when it exploded around 7:30 p.m. at a home in Genesee County, the Michigan State Police said in a news release obtained by PEOPLE.

He and a group of three to four others were celebrating in the backyard when the incident occurred and sent off metal shrapnel, police said. He was the only person hit by the shrapnel, and died of his injuries after being transported to Hurley Medical Center in Flint, according to the release.

Police said that the cannon was "designed to create a big flash, a loud noise and create smoke," but likely fractured after it was loaded with gun powder.

The home's owner bought the cannon from an auction, and had fired it "several times" before, the release said.

"The problem with things like this is when you use gunpowder and you're using some sort of device without regular inspections on them, you may not see a hairline fracture in that device," Lt. Liz Rich told The New York Times. "There may have been too much gunpowder in there — that's what our bomb squad suspects, that that's the reason the entire thing exploded."

Rich said that no charges have been filed, and clarified that the party was not a "gender reveal" celebration, but rather a baby shower happening at home of a family friend of the couple expecting a baby.

The incident remains under investigation, and will be sent to the Genesee County Prosecutor for review.

A GoFundMe page organized to help Silva's family with his funeral arrangements has so far raised more than $8,000.

"On 2/6/21 we lost Evan Silva to a sudden fatal accident. He left behind many family members and friends who greatly miss him and are grieving," the page read.

Though the cannon was not set off as part of a "gender reveal," the practice has made headlines in recent months for being the cause of several deadly accidents and sparking wildfires.

In October 2019, a 56-year-old Iowa woman was killed by debris from an explosion being used as part of a "gender reveal" party. Then, last summer, a "smoke-generating pyrotechnic device" being used during a party sparked the El Dorado wildfire, which burned thousands of acres in California.

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