Man killed in 'homemade cannon' accident

Police Say Michigan Man Killed In 'Homemade Cannon' Accident

CROTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXMI) -- A 46-year-old Howard City man was killed Sunday in a homemade cannon accident.

Anthony Michael Herman was firing the cannon when it exploded, according to a release from Michigan State Police. Police said that a piece of metal may have hit him in the chest.

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Officials were called to a home in Croton Township at about 10:46 p.m. Sunday. The 911 caller reported that Herman was in cardiac arrest, according to a release.

Herman was pronounced dead at the scene just before 11:30 p.m.

Sgt. Gary Wilson, squad leader for the Michigan State Police Hart Post says the homemade cannon was made from a steel pipe about a foot in length and three inches in diameter.

Neighbors say you could hear the blast for miles; the debris also ending up more than 200 yards away.

"Normally we'd all be out here playing all sorts of games, but there's not much doing on around here" said neighbor Larry Jachim. "Everybody is feeling really bad about it."

Jachim lives about five cottages down from where Sunday night's explosion happened.

"Pieces of metal went all over, at the time we didn't realize it" said Jachim. "We thought he was the only one that got hit by it, but today we found out there's metal pieces more than 200 yards away. Some people found pieces on their pontoon boat and all over the place. It's just a miracle that more people didn't get hurt."

Police say 46 year old Anthony Herman was standing about 15 yards away from the cannon hen a piece of metal hit him in the chest.

"Prior to our officer's arrival, the person who was doing CPR noticed that the victim had an injury to his side and that's when they noticed that the cannon that was firing off had exploded and it was a piece of the cannon that hit him in his side" said Wilson.

Sgt. Wilson doesn't recall any other deaths in the area from homemade cannons and says accidents related to them are rare, but homemade cannons are common. What caused this one to explode is still unknown.

"We do not know if it was a weakness in the metal or just too much power, we just don't know that" said Wilson.

Meanwhile Jachim says the close-knit community is taking the loss hard.

"The guy that got hit, I was on a pontoon boat with him earlier in the day" said Jachim. "It was the first time I met him. He was a super good guy. He had his 16 year old son out with him having a good time. It's just really tough."

Sgt. Wilson says because these cannons aren't meant to be used as weapons they are legal, but he still urges people to use caution with them or not use them at all because they can be extremely dangerous.

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