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May 5, 2015

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Charges filed in death of man in July 4 cannon explosion

Cannon explosion

The Clark County District Attorney’s Office has charged a man in connection with the death of 22-year-old Kacey Barlow, who was killed on July 4 by an exploding cannon.

Andrew Molitor, 20, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and performance of an act in reckless disregard of persons or property.

During the evening July 4, Molitor and several of his friends were setting off fireworks in front of Molitor’s house at 6065 Pooh Corner Court, according to a Metro Police report. At one point, Molitor and his friend got a homemade cannon from the garage and placed it in the middle of the street, police said.

According to the report, Molitor filled the cannon with gunpowder. After seeing the fuse was too short, one of Molitor’s friends created a gunpowder trail, which he said would extend the burn time of the fuse, the police report said.

Molitor used a propane torch to light the gunpowder and after a couple of seconds the cannon exploded, the report said.

The explosion sent metal fragments in all directions, damaging the exterior of the house and several vehicles in the garage, police said.

Barlow, who was taking photos nearby, was struck in the chest by two metal fragments, police said. He was transported to University Medical Center, where he died of his injuries. Three of Molitor’s friends also were injured but not seriously.

According to the police report, Molitor’s father made the cannon while he was in high school. He told police he used a metal pipe for the cannon barrel, which was mounted onto a piece of steel plate.

The cannon was designed to be loaded with smokeless powder and fired by lighting a length of hobby fuse, which was inserted through the base of the cannon, according to the police report.

The father told police he didn’t have gunpowder or fuse around the house and didn’t give anyone permission to use the cannon.

Barlow’s death was ruled accidental after an autopsy in July.

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  1. I expected to read this in a Alabama paper.

  2. A very similar accident happened in Bakersfield, Calif. in 2004. A guy took apart a bunch of piccolo petes (those whistling things) and loaded the powder into one to make it more "powerful" and lit it. The device took off and struck an innocent neighbor out in his yard, piercing his heart. The guy went to jail for 60 days over it. (hardly enough time in my mind) The city responded by banning the sale of piccolo petes. It's a shame that foolishness too often kills an innocent victim.